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Showing 1-10 of 45 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 59 reviews
on December 27, 2015
I grew up listening to these old hymns. Hearing them arranged by Burwell for a professional orchestra is stunning. Burwell was finessed out an Academy Award for this soundtrack on the flimsy grounds that the songs were not original. He should have won. "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand" just sends chills through me. If you don't buy the soundtrack, at least listen to this snip on YouTube. It's the river crossing sequence.
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on June 3, 2013
The music of Carter Burwell makes True Grit, the movie, even better! And this movie version is outstanding! The soundtrack album is soft and sublime with an on-going, underlying theme set to the tune of the old hymn, Leaning On The Everlasting Arms, performed with a soft, slow, reverent piano and strings combination. One wouldn't think it fits the mood of the film, but it does! It really does! Carter Burwell accomplishes and captures the very essence of this exciting Coen Brothers production! The music is also powerful with full-on orchestra! It captures so well the drama unfolding on the screen. But with or without the movie, the music stands on it's own, poignant, strong, beautiful and dramatic! Just listening to this brilliant soundtrack will put you in the mood to watch True Grit all over again!
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on March 5, 2011
Well, once again, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have proved that they don't have their finger on the pulse of the nation. They have their finger stuck somewhere where the sun won't shine. I should have known that True Grit, the BEST movie of 2010, bar none, wouldn't get any awards. Westerns and SciFi movies never get awards unless, like Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, they are so exceptionally above everything else on the slate that they can't be dismissed. And Carter Burwell's sound track to True Grit, a beautiful and moving body of music, didn't even get a nod because the Academy claimed not enough of this music was "original". This is akin to saying that Aaron Copeland's Appalacian Spring wasn't an original work because it had the hymn "Simple Gifts" in it. What Mr. Burwell does with the music for True Grit is amazing. He starts with the tune to "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" as Mattie's theme, played simply and beautifully on the piano. As she gets further away from home and into greater peril, the tune gains orchestration. And Burwell is able to express a full range of emotion, happiness, adventuresome, fear, anger and relief with variations on the simple tune. This music is hauntingly beautiful. And for those who gripe about the new version of True Grit being nothing like the John Wayne version, I suggest you listen to this album. Aside from Glen Campbell's gawdawful crooning of "Someday Little Girl", which makes me wish I had some ear bleach every time I hear it, who remembers any of the music from the original movie? Good job, Mr. Burwell, I've listened to this album a dozen times or more since I bought it.
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on March 23, 2011
I heard an interview with Carter Burwell on All Things Considered and it prompted me to see the new True Grit. I had to buy the soundtrack after that. The music is an integral part of the film's impact. Maybe there's something genetic about the recognition of those old hymn tunes; there's a big dose of Southern Baptist in one side of my family. Maybe it's just something we pick up from the sounds around us in this country. All I know is that when I play this CD, the images and the mood of the film come to mind powerfully.

I would have gone with 5 stars except that I wish that Mr. Burwell would write a suite based on themes from his soundtrack. This CD is a collection of musical cues from the film and most are too short. It's really lovely music and I wish that the short cues were more developed. There is a wealth of material here for development.
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on January 13, 2011
Carter Burwell's score for True Grit really helps to bring the listener to the old west time period, by use of chords and music that is just very comforting and slightly familiar to us. Like John Barry's score for Dances with Wolves, there is just something about this modern score that sounds so old fashion and yet we hear something new in it when we listen.
This score has several layers. On one track you have quiet tones that are sad and reflective. Then there are the giant sweeping tracks that bring the feeling of danger and dread and of adventures about to be had. At times, these tracks are combined into on track that may start off with a huge sound of the old west, but then will end with the more quieter music.
It is very well done, and I recommend it highly. If you saw the film and enjoyed the music, then this is a no-brainer. If you are curious, take a listen to it and decide from there. i think that you will be impressed. At least, I hope you are.
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on March 30, 2012
Besides the excellent production by top musicians, their names are given as well as the names of all who helped create the CD, and there is a meaningful note from the composer. There is also some background information about compositions besides Burwell's, and a scripture quotation that helps set the time/place mood of the character Mattie. Each piece is given a name tied to one of 20 events in the movie so the listener can relive the scenes. Especially appreciated the names of well known hymn tunes that were familiar because some of the titles could not be recallled at the movie. There were excerps from five hymn tunes in the movie.
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on September 9, 2012
I selected this item because it was listed when I had done a search in Music for Iris Dement. My memory of the movie soundtrack was that it was music which she would be very good singing, but I didn't specifically recall her doing it. When I got the CD, I was totally disappointed to find it is completely orchestral. It's well done, but is movie soundtrack music. There definitely are no vocals by Iris Dement (or anyone else), and she isn't mentioned anywhere in the liner notes. I am at a total loss as to why AMAZON.COM showed me this CD in the results for a search for Iris Dement. I feel completely ripped-off.
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on August 1, 2012
This is not a "soundtrack album." Perhaps it is not advertised as such, but it certainly appears as such. I was very much disappointed that the gospel song "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" was not included. The end of the movie is punctuated by that piece. The short narrative on the reverse side of the album cover says, "Score contains excerpts of songs and musical pieces including the afore mentioned song. Not there, and very much missed. WW
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VINE VOICEon January 29, 2011
No Country For Old Men was an exercise in how sound design became the score. How silence became more powerful than any instrument could be. No Country For Old Men is a western and a damn good one at that. True Grit has always been known as an iconic American western film. Elmer Bernstein's score to the original wasn't anything to get excited about but it served what the film was and that was an American western. Me, I fancy the Italian westerns. I actually could care less about little homes on the prairie, farmers, old townsfolk and the la-dee-da that American filmmakers have imprinted on the genre. I want bounty hunters, the search for treasure, revenge, gunfights, greed, sun blasted faces, dusters and electric guitar. In a word I want "grit" in my westerns.

So when I heard that the Coen brothers were remaking True Grit I got all excited that "grit" may finally be added to this story. I also expected Carter Burwell's score to be gritty. In all honestly I wanted that end credit suite he composed for No Country For Old Men expanded into a score. It was perfect. However Burwell didn't take that approach. The decision was to base the thematic material off of old catholic hymns to represent the character of Mattie. I liked the sound of that. Burwell explains his approach in the liner notes. He says we start with a piano and the further Mattie travels away from home the more orchestral the score becomes. Again, I like the ideas here. Then I listened to the score. I was disappointed. I'm not gonna lie. Maybe my expectations were in a different place so I listened to the score again. Again I was disappointed. The score tells a story, the execution is excellent and the score does everything it should. It has Burwell's style all over it. It reminded me very much of Miller's Crossing. However it lacked "grit". The score wasn't gritty at all. In fact it was mediocre.

It's unfair to hold every western score to Morricone standards, but for me a score needs to incorporate at least some of the foundations that Morricone has established. I absolutely dread Americana western scores. I do. Some people say The Searchers is a brilliant score or that The Wild Bunch changed cinema. I'll tell you that they are boring western scores. Sorry, to me they are. However I do love certain Americana scores. For instance I think City Slickers is in fact one of the best scores of that type ever composed. The riveting sound of the setting lifts you up the very same way Aaron Copland's music does. But usually when I hear a plain old fiddle I cringe.

There are moments of greatness here. "River Crossing" is one of those moments that embody what I love about these kinds of westerns. However the score never stays at that emotional level and in the end falls behind of what I feel the potential could have been. This is a good score, not great and not bad. I just was really disappointed because my expectations were in a totally different place. I guess I'll keep listening to those end credits from No Country For Old Men.
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on March 23, 2011
Saw the latest film of True Grit & loved the music. In the beginning our young heroine had recently left home to find her father's killer. The hymn "Leaning on the ever lasting arm" theme was played quite often. Then as she got farther & farther away from home & closer to her goal, the hymn was played less often...the music tells of her leaving her Christian roots & seeking vengence...& succeeding.

Great music.
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