Soundtrack Review: CRAZY HEART

by: GATW Staff
January 21st, 2010

Rating: 8/10

CRAZY HEART is one of those rare films that is as much about the music as it is about the story, the characters, or even the heart. Normally films of this nature are biopics based on music legends, but I dare you to leave this film and not be convinced that Bad Blake was a true country legend. There is a common thread that links the handful of films of this nature that work, and that thread is T-Bone Burnett (WALK THE LINE, O’ BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?).

Burnett is a master of his craft and has proven his worth in taking already talented actors and turning them into musicians (see: Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, and now, Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrell). And yes, there is a difference between being an actor who sings and an actor who transforms into a musician. Burnett makes this seamless transition once again, giving us Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) and Tommy Sweet (Colin Farrell).

This soundtrack is made up of original music penned by Burnett and performed by Bridges and Farrell, along with a handful of classic country songs that give the collection a real sense of authenticity. The songs are a wonderful mix of pure country to blues to bluegrass, showing the range that country music can span. My favorite tracks were those sung by Bridges and Farrell (I think the movie caused me to become a bit biased). The song I have been singing all week, “Fallin’ & Flyin’," is a special treat as both the solo version sung by Bridges and the duet version with Farrell are included here. And if you have been hoping to add Mr. Robert Duvall to your play lists, you are in luck, as he too has a song included, “Live Forever."

Having just won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song this past Sunday, “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)”, proves it truly is the link that ties this entire story together. Bridges and Burnett were looking for the song that would encompass the entire film and their answer came in the form of Ryan Bingham. During a Q&A after a screening of CRAZY HEART this past weekend, Bridges let the audience in on the origin of this now award-winning tune. Bingham was discovered by Farrell at Canters Deli in Los Angeles where Bingham was, at the time, living in his car. Farrell thought he may have the songwriting chops to pen something they could use and as luck would have it, he did. CRAZY HEART had its theme and now Bingham has a Golden Globe to his name (which he hopefully won’t be keeping in his car).

I am not a huge country music fan, but as a music fan, I do have an appreciation for it. I had not heard any of the music from this film prior to seeing it so I am not sure if I enjoyed the soundtrack so much because I had experienced the songs through the musician’s performances or if I truly am a country girl at heart. Truth be told, good music is good music, whether it’s country, pop, rock, etc. And CRAZY HEART is crazy good music.

This soundtrack is available through New West Records.

1. "Hold On You" (Jeff Bridges)
2. "Hello Trouble" (Buck Owens)
3. "My Baby’s Gone" (Louvin Brothers)
4. "Somebody Else" (Stephen Bruton) (Instrumental)
5. "Somebody Else" (Jeff Bridges)
6. "I Don’t Know" (Ryan Bingham)
7. "Wesley Plays Piano" (Thomas Canning)
8. "Searching" (Kitty Wells)
9. "I Don’t Know" (Jeff Bridges)
10. "Once A Gambler" (Lightnin' Hopkins)
11. "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" (Waylon Jennings)
12. "I Let the Freight Train Carry Me On" (Delmore Brothers)
13. "Color of the Blues" (George Jones)
14. "Joy" (Lucinda Williams)
15. "Fallin' & Flyin'" (Colin Farrell & Jeff Bridges)
16. "Gone, Gone, Gone" (Colin Farrell)
17. "If I Needed You" (Townes Van Zandt)
18. "Reflecting Light" (Sam Phillips)
19. "Mal Hombre" (Lydia Mendoza)
20. "Live Forever" (Robert Duvall)

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