All the Pretty Horses [Original Soundtrack]

All the Pretty Horses [Original Soundtrack]

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Fans of country music veteran Marty Stuart will undoubtedly be thrilled with his score for All the Pretty Horses, the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's bestselling novel from director Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade). Not surprisingly, Stuart focuses the score on the guitar, which is so central that it serves as aSee more details below

Overview

Fans of country music veteran Marty Stuart will undoubtedly be thrilled with his score for All the Pretty Horses, the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's bestselling novel from director Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade). Not surprisingly, Stuart focuses the score on the guitar, which is so central that it serves as a character, as atmosphere, and as narrator. The guitar is always heard in the forefront of the music regardless of a track's setting or style, and Stuart is able to conjure myriad emotions from the instrument's slender frame. This approach works because Stuart's mix of country music styles with hints of mariachi captures the story's time (post-WWII) and place (Mexico), as well as the motivation of the characters -- most notably, love and adventure. The spacious, simple opening track "Desert Dream" alludes to a distant sadness, perhaps of forbidden love. Equally potent are "Porque," a sweet Mexican love song, and the nostalgic "My Last Days on Earth/What's It Like to Be Dead?" brought to life by sustained strings, twangy guitar, and bass pedal tones. Stuart's score is musically consistent and easy on the nerves, and it's likely to touch you whether you're a country music fan or not.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Sure, the movie was no Sling Blade, even if directed by the one and only Billy Bob Thornton. But let's face it, they took two hours outta the thing! All the griping aside, the score, composed and performed by country music renaissance man Marty Stuart -- and his collaborating band members Kristin Wilkinson and Larry Paxton -- is something else completely. Comprised of 23 tracks, Stuart's score does sound like soundtrack music, but no matter. He and his sextet have taken the drama of the film's text and created an aural theater of the American West. At the heart of each theme is a core of mandolin, viola, bass, guitar, accordion, piano, and percussion. Orchestrations ride ambiently in the background, highlighting tension and drama. In "Edge of the World," cornets play at the music's outermost edge, hinting at a red Sonoran sunset. In another place, guitars, both strummed and soloed upon, create an impressionistic picture of a campfire jam session. Elsewhere, "Strawberry Tango, Part One and Two" features a full horn and string section painting the atmosphere at a cantina dance from its wild beginnings until its sultry ending. Daniel Lanois, who scored Thornton's Sling Blade (well, it actually sounds as if he threw a bunch of leftover studio bits on a tape for the movie), makes a return appearance here with an actual song. The track "Porque" features the stirring vocals of Raul Malo of the Mavericks, who contributed the lyrics to the selection. It's a sad, romantic ballad. Lost love drips from the cowboy's hat, regret drapes itself in tears in his shaded eyes, and he stands out in the rain singing to no one. Also, homage is paid to Stuart's greatest influence and benefactor, the daddy of bluegrass music himself, Bill Monroe. His "My Last Days on Earth" is included here. (Everybody knows nobody was listening to bluegrass music in Texas or Mexico in the late '30s.) The only real complaint about this gorgeous score is its brevity. Clocking in at under 50 minutes, it's easy to hear where edits have been made out of longer tracks, though each piece flows into the next like water. It's a mirror image of the movie but doesn't suffer near as badly for it. Despite his already prodigious talents as a songwriter, singer, and musician who is almost single-handedly keeping the country music tradition alive in the modern idiom, Stuart has proven himself a capable and worthy composer of film music. Here's hoping there's more work of this kind in his future.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/16/2001
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998946521
catalogNumber:
89465
Rank:
62604

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