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Various Artists

Songcatcher Soundtrack – 2001 (Vanguard)

Reviewed by Michael Berick

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Following the surprise success of the "O Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack comes "Songcatcher," another film where old timey music is integrally woven into the movie's plot. Set in 1907, this Sundance-honored movie centers on a woman's exploration in Appalachia and Appalachian music. The soundtrack, with songs either from or inspired by the film, offers a stellar line-up of female singers, from mainstream figures like Dolly Parton and Deana Carter to such backwoods artists as Hazel Dickens and Iris Dement.

This gorgeous sounding disc accents, not surprisingly, traditional mountain music. Maria McKee does a marvelous job with "Wayfarin' Stranger" and Gillian Welch, aided by David Rawlings and David Steele, turns in a heartaching rendition of "Wind And Rain". One lesser-known performer who stands out is Emma Rossum. One of the film's star, she more than holds her own dueting with the formidable Dolly Parton on "When Love Is New" (one of the few recently written tunes). While that song evokes a period feel, some numbers, like Allison Moorer's powerfully sung "Moonshiner," stick out slightly for sounding a bit too modern. That minor qualm aside, this album not only is an exquisite set of old timey music but it also piques your interest in the movie.