T-Bone Burnett On 10 Years Of 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'

T-Bone Burnett
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou? hit American ears 10 years ago, the impact was as massive as it was unexpected. Led by producer T-Bone Burnett, the album paired contemporary artists with the folk, blues, country and gospel of the movie's Depression-era setting. It became a runaway hit, selling roughly nine million copies and scoring a Grammy for Album of the Year. More importantly, it kick-started an Americana music revival that is still going strong.

A 10th-anniversary reissue of the soundtrack came out this week, featuring a second disc of material not included on the original release. On this episode of All Songs Considered, Burnett speaks with Bob Boilen about the significance of the album a decade later, and plays selections from the new deluxe edition.

T-Bone Burnett On 10 Years Of 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?'

Cover for O Brother, Where Art Thou? [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]

'In The Jailhouse Now' performed by Harley Allen

  • Album: O Brother, Where Art Thou? [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
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  • "'In The Jailhouse Now' performed by Harley Allen"
  • Album: O Brother, Where Art Thou? [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • Released: 2011
 

'Little Sadie' performed by Norman Blake

  • Album: O Brother, Where Art Thou? [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
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  • "'Little Sadie' performed by Norman Blake"
  • Album: O Brother, Where Art Thou? [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • Released: 2011
 

'Hogfoot' performed by John Hartford

  • Album: O Brother, Where Art Thou? [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
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  • "'Hogfoot' performed by John Hartford"
  • Album: O Brother, Where Art Thou? [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • Released: 2011
 

'Big Rock Candy Mountain' performed by Van Dyke Parks

  • Album: O Brother, Where Art Thou? [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
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  • "'Big Rock Candy Mountain' performed by Van Dyke Parks"
  • Album: O Brother, Where Art Thou? [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • Released: 2011
 

'I'll Fly Away' performed by The Kossoy Sisters

  • Album: O Brother, Where Art Thou? [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
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  • "'I'll Fly Away' performed by The Kossoy Sisters"
  • Album: O Brother, Where Art Thou? [10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • Released: 2011
 
Cover for Best of Duke Ellington

Mood Indigo

  • Artist: Duke Ellington

This song does not appear on the soundtrack, but is discussed on the show as an example of the sound Burnett strived to achieve during recording. As he puts it: "You feel like you're right there in the room with the people ... You hear the room, you hear the resonance, you hear the reflections."

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  • "Mood Indigo"
  • Album: Best of Duke Ellington
  • Artist: Duke Ellington
  • Label: X5 Music
  • Released: 2008
 

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