For the soundtrack of the Coen Brothers' forthcoming flick, O Brother, Where Art Thou? -- a comedic retelling of Homer's Odyssey set in Mississippi in 1937 -- producer T-Bone Burnett has put together an old-timey assortment of string band music, prison work songs and gospel, mixing vintage recordings with newly contrived facsimiles in the modern-primitive style he developed with Gillian Welch.
Having sweet-voiced ringers like Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris and Welch (along with the annoyingly quaint Whites and Cox Family) pretty up the desperate, Depression-era tunes might suit the sonic requirements of the Coens, but the eerie beauty of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers music they've used as a model has been lost in the translation. Accept no substitutes; seek out the real stuff instead. O Brother, Where Art Thou? opens locally December 29.TP