When producer T Bone Burnett’s soundtrack to the Coen Brothers’ 2000 film O Brother, Where Art Thou? was released 20 years ago this month, it launched a roots-music boom. Many artists on the album — from new traditionalists Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss to bygone legends like Ralph Stanley — saw boosts to their careers, while package tours of old-timey music, like Down From the Mountain, sold out around the country. Most importantly, the unlikely success of the soundtrack, which placed Jimmie Rodgers-era country-blues (“In the Jailhouse Now”) alongside stark mountain spirituals (“O Death”) and Mississippi fiddle tunes (“Indian War Whoop”), helped establish a commercial audience for roots-leaning music — an audience that persisted, evolved, and grew as Americana solidified into a genre. But the O Brother soundtrack also reinforced myths and misconceptions around roots music, hardening its borders against anything that sounded too contemporary or dared to kick against the idea that primitive sounds were synonymous with authenticity. Under this framework, artists who refused to color within those lines, then, were seen as less “authentic” than their peers and didn’t receive the same commercial O Brother bump. Related Best Movies/ TV to See in Dec.: ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ ‘Mank,’ New ‘Euphoria’… Read full this story
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‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ at 20: How the Soundtrack Reinforced a Roots Music Myth have 302 words, post on www.rollingstone.com at December 4, 2020. This is cached page on Movie Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.