Honor roll: Folk albums

Each of these Folk albums has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Album:Cold Mountain: Music From The Motion Picture

Cold Mountain: Music From The Motion Picture

Gabriel Yared

Director Anthony Minghella’s take on Charles Frazier’s bestselling novel is powered by wistful romanticism and a dramatic structure that’s been compared to Homer’s Odyssey. That latter creative tack parallels the Coens’ O Brother, Where Art Thou in crucial ways, and is further enhanced by another T-Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack of Appalachian-inflected folk traditionals, sympathetic originals by diverse songwriters (Elvis Costello and Sting), and a core of gritty performances (the White Stripe’s Jack White and Alison Krauss) that rise above mere…

Album:O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Original Soundtrack

O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Original Soundtrack

T-Bone Burnett, Various Artists

The best soundtracks are like movies for the ears, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? joins the likes of Saturday Night Fever and The Harder They Come as cinematic pinnacles of song. The music from the Coen brothers’ Depression-era film taps into the source from which the purest strains of country, blues, bluegrass, folk, and gospel music flow. Producer T Bone Burnett enlists the voices of Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, and kindred spirits for performances of traditional material, in arrangements that are either a…

Album:Livin', Lovin', Losin'

Livin', Lovin', Losin': Songs of the Louvin Brothers

Various Artists

Given their impact on generations of country, country-rock, and bluegrass acts, it’s amazing the Louvins haven’t had a modern tribute before. Unlike tribute albums that stumble through inconsistent performances and ill-matched material, this one soars, the selections well matched to the paired artists. Joe Nichols and Rhonda Vincent capture “Cash on the Barrelhead’s” sassy humor. Emmylou Harris—who spearheaded the Louvin revival—and Rodney Crowell are relaxed on the Louvin hit “My Baby’s Gone.” Merle Haggard and the album’s producer Carl Jackson capture the…

Album:Be Here

Be Here

Keith Urban

Australian-born Keith Urban, hot off the double-platinum success of his 2002 sophomore album, Golden Road, is kind of like contemporary country’s Tom Cruise. The kid is just so unjustly talented, likeable, and good-looking that it’s hard not to hate him. But such jealousy is apt to melt into begrudging admiration and affection after a quick listen to this third album. True, some of Urban’s self-penned adolescent love laments and bright-eyed paeans to life in the slow lane do sound a bit callow and derivative. But, with his resolute tenor and his…

Album:Tambourine

Tambourine

Tift Merritt

Merritt’s resonant if somewhat conventionally alt-country debut Bramble Rose did little to predict this blue-eyed-soul breakout. A mix of hard-charging guitar rockers, horn-charted grooves, and pensive singer-songwriter ballads, Tambourine might have resulted in a stylistic hodge-podge, but producer George Drakoulias lends the same punchy, live-tracked vitality that distinguished the best work of the Jayhawks, Black Crowes, and Maria McKee. Merritt taps deep into her southern musical roots to find her own voice, and that voice has fully…

Album:"Love and Theft"

"Love and Theft"

Bob Dylan

When we last left the ever-confounding saga that is Bob Dylan’s now-superhuman recording career, he’d reunited with producer Daniel Lanois, with whom he cut 1997’s Time Out of Mind, his most coherent and appealing collection in nearly a decade. Now the still-reigning prince of musical contrariety and potent wordplay is back with his most focused, well-played collection since 1989’s Oh Mercy, another Lanois production. One listen to the fade-in of the opener “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum” and it’s clear that all Dylan’s roadwork has shaped him and his…

Views: 2,611 • Modified: • Elapsed: 0.021 sec
  • Facebook
  • AboutUs
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike