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True Grit (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)

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Carter Burwell has scored dozens of films, including Being John Malkovich, Twilight, and The Kids Are All Right, but he’s probably best known for his long-running collaboration with the Coen Brothers. The directing duo’s 2010 release, True Grit, is an adaptation of the 1968 Charles Portis novel, which was also the source of a 1969 film starring John Wayne, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. For the newer film’s score, Burwell arranged 19th century hymns, including “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms,” a song that provides the movie’s main thematic material. Burwell is deft at crafting numerous variations for piano and/or orchestra on that theme; each one has a distinct emotional/musical shading. For example the gloomy “A Methodist and a Son of a Bitch” is marked by mysterious, glassy strings while “Your Headstrong Ways” is delightfully jaunty. The other hymns that Burwell draws on lend a nice variety to this fine soundtrack. The album concludes with Iris DeMent’s deftly intoned version of “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms,” which plays over the film’s closing credits.

Customer Reviews

Carter Burwell, you son of a gun.

It is a gross oversight by the Academy that Mr. Burwell has not been decorated with dozens of Oscar statues. And he won't be decorated for this score due to the Academy disqualifying it because too much of it isn't original material. Poppycock, I say. Never have Leaning On The Everlasting Arms or the other hymns he uses here sounded so beautiful, so epic, or so truthful. Like all great scores, it elevates its film to heights it would not have otherwise accomplished. It swells in all the right places, it's never overpowering. I may be on a True Grit high right now having just gotten back from seeing it in theaters, but I feel this is the best work Mr. Burwell has done. It is a shame we won't get to see him and Mr. Reznor face off at the Oscars next year but I have a feeling this score will get loads of recognition anyway.

Miller's Hudsucker True Grit

I've yet to see the film, but I couldn't resist listening to Mr. Burwell's new score. What can I say? It's great. You like Carter Burwell? You like feeling good? Do you not enjoy feeling like crap? Then listen to this score. Easy.

The Hanging Man is especially great. It reminds me of Thomas Newman's work. I want Mr. Newman and Mr. Burwel to duke it out and let the best man... I don't know, continue to be awesome. Or together. They don't have to fight. They could just hang out and talk probably. Wait, what? Okay, yeah, this score is beautiful.

A great movie, a great soundtrack.

I grew up listening to the hymns found within the soundtrack and, as another reviewer has already said, I've never heard them in such a way, and I mean that in the best way possible. The soundtrack really gave a lot of soul to the movie, the soul that it needed. Burwell's composition is right on and it's a shame he probably won't get the attention for this that he deserves. Probably the best $10 I've spent on an album in a long time.


Born: November 18, 1955 in New York, NY

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Probably one of a very few soundtrack composers to idolize Iggy Pop, Carter Burwell is best known for his work with the Coen Brothers, having scored every one of their films through the year 2010. By turns haunting and dark or quirky and experimental, Burwell's eclectic music has graced films in a wide variety of genres, and he's used the occasional big-studio project to finance his work on a number of groundbreaking independent films. Born November 18, 1955 in New York, Burwell took piano lessons...
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True Grit (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture), Carter Burwell
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Soundtrack, Music, Classical, Soundtrack
  • Released: Dec 17, 2010

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