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O Brother, Where Art Thou? (soundtrack)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (soundtrack).jpg
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedDecember 5, 2000 (2000-12-05)
Recorded(modern tracks) Spring 1999
StudioSound Emporium, Nashville
LabelLost Highway/Mercury
ProducerT Bone Burnett

O Brother, Where Art Thou? is the soundtrack album of music from the 2000 American film of the same name, written, directed and produced by the Coen Brothers and starring George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, and John Goodman.

The film is set in Mississippi during the Great Depression. The soundtrack, produced by T-Bone Burnett, uses bluegrass, country, gospel, blues, and folk music appropriate to the time period. With the exception of a few vintage tracks (such as Harry McClintock's 1928 single "Big Rock Candy Mountain"), most tracks are modern recordings.

The soundtrack was reissued on August 23, 2011, with 14 new tracks that were not included in the original album, "including 12 previously unreleased cuts from music producer T-Bone Burnett's O Brother sessions."[1]

Development and sound

The soundtrack was conceived as a major component of the film, not merely as a background or support. For this reason it was decided to record the soundtrack before filming.[2] T-Bone Burnett was invited to design collections of music.[3]

Dirges and other macabre songs recurring in Appalachian music,[4] such as "O Death," "Lonesome Valley," "Angel Band," and "I Am Weary", appear in the film as a contrast to the bright, cheerful songs like "Keep On the Sunnyside" and "In the Highways." Ralph Stanley of The Stanley Brothers personally recorded the a cappella folk song "O Death."[5][6]

"I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" has five variations: two are used in the film, one in the music video, and two in the album. Two of the variations feature the verses being sung back-to-back, and the other three variations feature additional music between each verse.[7] The voices of the Soggy Bottom Boys were provided by Dan Tyminski (lead vocal on "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow"), Nashville songwriter Harley Allen, and the Nashville Bluegrass Band's Pat Enright.[8]

Reception and legacy

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[10]
The Austin Chronicle4/5 stars[11]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[12]
Q4/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[15]
Uncut4/5 stars[16]

O Brother, Where Art Thou? won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2002, the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals (for singer Dan Tyminski, whose voice overdubbed George Clooney's in the film on "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow", Nashville songwriter Harley Allen, and the Nashville Bluegrass Band's Pat Enright), and the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "O, Death" by Ralph Stanley.

The album won the  Album of the Year Award (only the second soundtrack to ever do so) and Single of the Year Award for "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" at the Country Music Association Awards.[17] It also won the Album of the Year Award at the Academy of Country Music Awards and took home 2 International Bluegrass Music Awards: Album of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year (for Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch on "I'll Fly Away").

In 2006, the album ranked No. 38 on CMT's 40 Greatest Albums in Country Music. In 2009, Rhapsody ranked it No. 8 on the "Country's Best Albums of the Decade" list.[18] Engine 145 Country Music Blog ranked it No. 5 on the "Country's Best Albums of the Decade" list.[19] In 2010, All Songs Considered, a program on NPR, included the soundtrack on their list of "The Decade's 50 Most Important Recordings."[20]

Some of the artists on the soundtrack played a concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, which was recorded in the 2000 documentary film, Down from the Mountain.

On August 23, 2011, a 10th anniversary edition was released featuring a bonus disc with 14 new tracks that were not included in the original album, all but two of which were previously unreleased songs from Burnett's original sessions.[21][22]

Commercial performance

The album charted at No. 1 on Billboard 200 In 2001, and spent over 20 weeks on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart. The soundtrack CD became a best seller; it was first certified Gold by the RIAA on February 9, 2001, and reached 8 times Platinum by October 10, 2007.[23] It has sold 8,175,800 copies in the United States as of October 2019.[24]

Track listing

1."Po' Lazarus"traditionalJames Carter and the Prisoners4:31
2."Big Rock Candy Mountain"Harry McClintockHarry McClintock2:16
3."You Are My Sunshine"Jimmie Davis, Charles MitchellNorman Blake4:26
4."Down to the River to Pray"traditionalAlison Krauss2:55
5."I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" (radio station version)Dick BurnettThe Soggy Bottom Boys3:10
6."Hard Time Killing Floor Blues"Skip JamesChris Thomas King2:42
7."I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" (instrumental)BurnettNorman Blake4:28
8."Keep On the Sunny Side"Ada Blenkhorn, J. Howard EntwisleThe Whites3:33
9."I'll Fly Away"Albert E. BrumleyAlison Krauss, Gillian Welch3:57
10."Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby"traditionalEmmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch1:57
11."In the Highways"Maybelle CarterThe Peasall Sisters1:35
12."I Am Weary (Let Me Rest)"Pete Roberts (Pete Kuykendall)The Cox Family3:13
13."I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" (instrumental)Ed HaleyJohn Hartford2:34
14."O Death"Lloyd ChandlerRalph Stanley3:19
15."In the Jailhouse Now"Blind Blake, Jimmie RodgersThe Soggy Bottom Boys3:34
16."I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" (with band)BurnettThe Soggy Bottom Boys4:16
17."Indian War Whoop" (instrumental)Hoyt MingJohn Hartford1:30
18."Lonesome Valley"traditionalThe Fairfield Four4:07
19."Angel Band"traditionalThe Stanley Brothers2:15
Total length:60:18
10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition bonus disc
1."Hard Time Killing Floor Blues"Colin Linden1:15
2."You Are My Sunshine"Alan O'Bryant3:29
3."Tishomingo Blues"John Hartford2:01
4."I'll Fly Away"Erik Darling and The Kossoy Sisters2:32
5."Big Rock Candy Mountain"Van Dyke Parks1:42
6."Tom Devil"Ed Lewis & The Prisoners5:19
7."Keep On The Sunny Side"The Cox Family2:36
8."Angel Band"Hannah, Leah, Sarah Peasall and Robert Hamlett0:58
9."Big Rock Candy Mountain"Norman Blake2:18
10."Little Sadie"Norman Blake1:50
11."In the Highways"The Cox Family2:12
12."Hogfoot"John Hartford3:47
13."The Lord Will Make A Way"The Fairfield Four2:36
14."In The Jailhouse Now"Harley Allen3:05
Total length:35:40


Chart performance


Chart (2000–2002) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[25] 15
Canadian Albums Chart 3
French Albums (SNEP)[26] 9
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[27] 87
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[28] 14
U.S. Billboard 200 1
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 1
U.S. Billboard Top Soundtracks 1


Year Single US Country
2002 "Man of Constant Sorrow" 35


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[29] 4× Platinum 400,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[30] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[23] 8× Platinum 8,175,800[24]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also


  1. ^ Germain, David. New 'O Brother' set serves up more old-timey music Yahoo! News (August 22, 2011). Retrieved August 22, 2011
  2. ^ Ridley, Jim (May 22, 2000). "Talking with Joel and Ethan Coen about 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'". Nashville Scene. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  3. ^ "O Brother, why art thou so popular?". BBC News. February 28, 2002. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  4. ^ McClatchy, Debbie (June 27, 2000). "A Short History of Appalachian Traditional Music". Appalachian Traditional Music – A Short History. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  5. ^ Ellison, Michael (June 18, 2001). "American high". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  6. ^ Staff writer (September 8, 2004). "Museum Honoring Music Legend Ralph Stanley Set to Open October 16". Ralph Stanley Museum. Archived from the original on November 22, 2010.
  7. ^ Long, Roger J. (2006-04-09). ""O Brother, Where Art Thou?" entry page". Archived from the original on 2007-11-03. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  8. ^ "Soggy Bottom Boys Hit the Top at 35th CMA Awards". Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  9. ^ "Reviews for OST by O Brother Where Art Thou". Metacritic. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  10. ^ Cater, Evan. "O Brother, Where Art Thou? [Original Soundtrack] – Various Artists". AllMusic. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  11. ^ Caligiuri, Jim (January 19, 2001). "O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Mercury)". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
  12. ^ Scherman, Tony (January 5, 2001). "Various Artists: O Brother, Where Art Thou?". Entertainment Weekly.
  13. ^ "Various Artists: O Brother, Where Art Thou?". Q. No. 171. December 2000. p. 139.
  14. ^ Walters, Barry (January 18, 2001). "Various Artists: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Music from the Motion Picture". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 23, 2003. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  15. ^ Miles, Milo (2004). "O Brother, Where Art Thou?". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 919. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  16. ^ "Various Artists: O Brother, Where Art Thou?". Uncut. p. 102. [With] some superb country-blues fiddling from John Hartford and a couple of breezy, close-harmony stunners from the Cox Family.
  17. ^ Price, Deborah; Stark, Phyllis (December 29, 2001). ""O Brother" One of Country's Biggest Success Stories". Billboard - the International Newsweekly of Music, Video and Home Entertainment.
  18. ^ "Country’s Best Albums of the Decade" Archived January 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 12 January 2010.
  19. ^ Staff (December 10, 2009). "Top Country Albums of the Decade (#10-#1)". Engine 145. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
  20. ^ "The Decade's 50 Most Important Recordings". NPR. November 16, 2009. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
  21. ^ Germain, David (August 22, 2011). "New 'O Brother' set serves up more old-timey music". Associated Press. Yahoo! News. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  22. ^ Lewis, Randy (August 23, 2011). "'O Brother,' is it 10 already?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  23. ^ a b "American album  certifications – Soundtrack – O Brother, Where Art Thou?". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 9 July 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  24. ^ a b Bjorke, Matt (October 9, 2019). "Top Country Catalog Album Sales: October 9, 2019". RoughStock. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  25. ^ " – Soundtrack – O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  26. ^ " – Soundtrack – O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  27. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  28. ^ " – Soundtrack – O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  29. ^ "Canadian album  certifications – Soundtrack – O Brother, Where Art Thou?". Music Canada. Retrieved 9 July 2019.
  30. ^ "British album  certifications – Soundtrack – O Brother, Where Art Thou?". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 9 July 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type O Brother, Where Art Thou? in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 May 2020, at 13:39
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