In the film Crazy Heart, actor Jeff Bridges is the skin, bone and blood of Bad Blake, a once famous, gifted, country-western outlaw Texas singer-songwriter, now a scruffy alcoholic, obscure, middle-aged, drifting, weathered, and fractured soul echoing out an existence in ghostly contrast to the enchanting skyline of New Mexico. He is a wary faded shell from the breakaway music outcast who once blazed a new path.
Ryan Bingham, won best original song for “The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart),” from the Golden Globes, Academy Awards, and Critics Choice Awards. The soundtrack, on the New West label, was co-produced by the late guitarist-songwriter Stephen Bruton, for whom the film is dedicated, and the magical touches of T-Bone Burnett. The amazing synergy of Stephen Bruton and T-Bone Burnett is acutely aligned across this CD.
The soundtrack deluxe editions, has all 23 song tracks from the film in sequential running order. It is a one disk jukebox of breathtaking honky-tonk roadhouse music overflowing with consistent quality songs giving it a barroom aroma. The disk has honed, well crafted, honest, insightful and intimate profound songs which come from the bone marrow of these genera.
The artistry selection is extraordinary. The listing span includes, Lightnin’ Hopkins’ sparse blues rendition of, “Once A Gambler.” Then, across the bridge is the Lucinda Williams gem, “Joy.” The film is complete with a Texas nod to a Townes Van Zandt song, “If I Needed You,” plus, the unique a cappella version of a Billy Joe & Eddy Shaver gospel tune, “Live Forever,” sung by Robert Duvall, while his character fishes with Blake.
Add Buck Owens’ “Hello Trouble,” The Louvin Brothers’ “My Baby’s Gone,” The Delmore Brothers’ “I Let the Freight Train Carry Me On,” and Waylon Jennings’ absolute classic, “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way.”
Jeff Bridges delivers a fine version of “Hold On You.” The lyric within “Fallin’ & Flyin’” is incredibly infectious at first listen. Evident lyrical poetry is the simplicity of phrasing delivered with deep meaning. Another example is a truly fine treat from Ryan Bingham, “I Don’t Know.”
Eventually, “The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart)” illuminates how Bad Blake must find and walk his own solo trail to redemption, which only comes from a realized desperation, and sincere willingness to change his life from within.