CD Songcatcher (CD 166542),
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1. Fair and Tender Ladies - Rosanne Cash
2. Pretty Saro - Iris DeMent
3. When Love Is New - Dolly Parton/Emmy Rossum
4. Barbara Allen - Emmy Rossum
5. Barbara Allen - Emmylou Harris
6. Moonshiner - Allison Moorer
7. Sounds of Loneliness - Patty Loveless
8. All My Tears - Julie Miller
9. Wayfarin' Stranger - Maria McKee
10. Mary of the Wild Moor - Sara Evans
11. Wind and Rain - Gillian Welch/David Rawlings/David Steele
12. Cuckoo Bird, The - Deana Carter
13. Score Suite #1 - David Mansfield
14. Conversation With Death - Hazel Dickens/David Patrick Kelly/Bobby McMillon
15. Score Suite #2 - David Mansfield
16. Single Girl - Pat Carroll
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 79586
Producers: Steve Buckingham, Chris Farren, Ken Levitan, Christopher Covert.
The soundtrack to a film about a woman music scholar's travels in Appalachia is largely devoted to contemporary versions of traditional folk songs by an impressive roster of female vocalists. Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Maria McKee, Dolly Parton (dueting with Emmy Rossum), Gillian Welch, Iris DeMent, and Patty Loveless are the big names here, though there are a few lesser-known singers like Julie Miller, Deanna Carter, and Sara Evans. While the interpretations are not scintillating and not the best versions of the songs you could possibly find, they're well done and make for a consistent listen, particularly by various-artist soundtrack standards. Occasionally the performers shine, as Rosanne Cash does on her cover of "Fair and Tender Ladies," Maria McKee on "Wayfarin' Stranger," and Emmylou Harris on "Barbara Allen." This isn't, by the way, always trying to re-create Appalachian music as it might have sounded in the early 20th century, as Cash's "Fair and Tender Ladies" and Carter's "The Cuckoo Bird," to use two of the better examples, have fairly full and rhythmic arrangements. For those who want the stark sound, DeMent's "Pretty Saro" is backed only by David Mansfield's fiddle, and Rossum sings a brief "Barbara Allen" unaccompanied (Hazel Dickens also does her snatch of "Conversation With Death" unaccompanied). Two snatches of David Mansfield's orchestrated film score are also included, and are unnecessary distractions. In the time-honored manner of contemporary updates of traditional material, this will serve the purpose of leading some listeners into a world they don't know much about, and as such projects go, it's more credible and successful than most. ~ Richie Unterberger
Entertainment Weekly (5/11/01, p.81) - "...Explores the Appalachian roots of country, bluegrass, and folk with an almost all-female lineup. Goosebump-good performances abound..." - Rating: B
No Depression (5-6/01, p.138) - "...It's all good. Well-chosen songs, beautifully played..."
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