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Various Artists

The Horse Whisperer – 1998 (MCA)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Various Artists

This soundtrack, with its lineup of two country superstars and many more artists who would be stars in a perfect world, just might be the spark that lights the traditional country fire. The film takes place in the American West, so not surprisingly, the album features its share of cowboy music, such as Don Walser's rendition of "Big Ball's in Cowtown" and Don Edwards, who is in the movie, singing "Cowboy Love Song." Raul Malo and the Mavericks perform the lilting "Dream River," (also on "Trampoline") and Emmylou Harris' sweet voice graces "Slow Surprise."And the Flatlanders - Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock - are reunited for "South Wind of Summer."

But the most pleasant surprise comes from a new artist, Allison Moorer, Shelby Lynne's sister. With a rich deep voice reminiscent of Bobbie Cryner, she stunningly sings the movie's featured slow dance, a country weeper called "A Soft Place to Fall." Oh, and those two superstars? They're none other than Dwight Yoakam singing "Cattle Call," and George Strait performing "Red River Valley." This is one of the best albums to come out this year.