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Various Artists

The Hi-Lo Country – 1999 (TVT Soundtrax)

Reviewed by Greg Tutunjian

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You have to wear two hats when you play this movie soundtrack, and only one of them is measured in gallons. The other one is checked at the door. Slightly more than half of this music was featured in the movie. The music "Sinspired byS" includes a Willie Nelson/Beck duet, "Drivin' Nails In My Coffin." Beck comes off as a natural cowboy crooner. Don Walser's "I'll Hold You In My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms)" adds a heartbreaker with full horn and string accompaniment. Marty Stuart produced many of these cuts and sings one as well ("Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)"). Hank Williams and Vaughn Monroe are also featured.

The remaining time is dedicated to "Music from Sthe Motion Picture" and it's a fully orchestrated set of emotive compositions: "The Cattle Drive," "Big Boy's Death," and "On To California" clearly relate some of the movie's story line. Composer Carter Burwell uses a large orchestra to bring his vision to our ears. There's something here for most everyone: honky tonk, swing, ballads, Mexican and western orchestral.

The transition from traditional songs to orchestral interpretations takes some getting used to. If you like hearing a movie from more than one perspective, you'll enjoy this album and listen to it repeatedly. If you take your soundtracks straight up, pass this one by.