Crazy Heart: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Deluxe Edition)

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Real country music is about authenticity, which makes it a tricky subject for movies. Acting like a country singer is a lot different than being one (as evidenced by today’s pop-polished Nashville product, which at times blurs the lines). Likewise, the songs in such films dare not be rhinestone-sprinkled Hollywood fakes. On the soundtrack to the movie Crazy Heart, co-producers T Bone Burnett and the late Stephen Bruton demonstrate the right way to do the job. The songs created for the film evoke the raucous and freewheeling likes of Waylon, Willie and their outlaw-country ilk, while featured actors Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrell turn in confident, believable performances. The eras and styles represented here wildly traverse the map (with vintage cuts from Buck Owens, The Louvin Brothers and other legends highlighting the multi-hued mixture), but the common thread is the presence of country music’s beloved renegade spirit and regional influences—particularly the Texas-bred variety. True musical independence may barely be breathing in much of today’s mainstream country, but Crazy Heart succeeds in finding its pulse.

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