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"What is it about that cowboy spirit that inevitably produces great soundtracks? Head West young man (or is it South?) and grow up with the country-(music).

Not that the music is always country, or even country and western. Morricone didn’t follow that tune; nor does Joe Kraemer with the current, and terrific, The Way Of The Gun score. This soundtrack is closer to rustic roots, but it is quite a treat to have these two neo-western soundtracks released simultaneously. The ‘neo-western’ term I’ve borrowed from Kraemer; and this one seems to evoke a little of every nuance a prefix can add to the West: spaghetti, wild, neo, take your pick.

With Johnny Cash’s son-in-law, and childhood guitar and mandolin prodigy, Marty Stuart in the front saddle, it is a soundtrack providing a smooth but exhilarating ride. Innovative it ain’t; evocative it is.

The ears take in the crisp twangy guitar and mandolin-picked phrases, and a vivid panorama opens up before the mind’s eye. Don’t let the bucolic roots fool you, this music has more style than the urban inanities overflowing on the pop charts.

Varying between ambience and exuberance with cavalier aplomb; Chickin’ pickin’, hot lickin’, boot-scootin’ bluegrass-chewin’ dixie-jiggin’ goodness intertwines seamlessly with romantic strings, piano and accordian.

The individual voice of every instrument is captured in its intricacy by this recording. Plucks, scrapes, twangs, strums, bows and bellows; and even a few songs; match the richness and immensity of the landscape they evoke. It is almost tonal personification. Earth, Nature, The Fates and The Elements brought to life like the dusty haze of a Steinbeck novel or the broad vistas of the entire cinematic tradition of the Western.

When the linear phrases aren’t sparking from Stuart’s guitar, such as in the magnum opus, Malarki Opus In D Major, they provide the perfect galloping rhythm to support the main romantic motifs. You know the deal: one and-a-two; didi-clop didi-clop didi . . .

Complemented with a couple of typically rustic musings from Daniel Lanois; this is a score that is almost impossible to dislike.

Of course such earthy and romantic music of American frontiers is hardly a pioneer for musical frontiers of its own. Rather it is a beautifully constructed, masterfully played, superbly recorded and delightfully easy listening experience that is best enjoyed from a rocking chair on a back porch; and with plenty of time to soak up its luxurious, tonal atmospheres."
Brad Green

Published May 17, 2001

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TITLE: All The Pretty Horses

ID: SK 89465


MUSIC BY: Marty Stuart, Kristin Wilkinson, Larry Paxton

ADDITIONAL MUSIC: Daniel Lanois, Raul Malo, Dennis Britt, Sam Bacco, Chris McDonald

PERFORMERS: Marty Stuart (guitar, mandolin, vocals); Larry Paxton (bass, guitar); Sam Bacco (percussion); Kristin Wilkinson (viola); Suzie Katayama (accordion); Randy Kerber (piano); Mike Baird (drums); Mike Lang (B-3 Organ); John Goux (guitar)



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