Regardless of whether T Bone Burnett prevails at the Grammys in the “Producer of the Year” category, the guy should be in line for “Producer of the Decade” accolades, I say, if only for his ingenious knack for turning actors into real live musicians. Not only did Burnett bolster Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Johnny Cash well enough to help earn him an Oscar nod (and possibly inform a drug-fueled[?] foray into rap), but now he has somehow helped actors Colin Farrell, Jeff Bridges, and Robert Duvall stand alongside an all-star team of musicians to perform on the best country album in recent memory, the Crazy Heart soundtrack.
Singer/songwriter Ryan Bingham has already sparked Oscar buzz for the film’s theme song, “The Weary Kind,” but we now have the full Crazy Heart OST tracklist, plus 30-second samples, and Bridges’ massive contribution alone should win The Dude his fair share of golden statues. Bridges performs on five tracks, including the songs “Hold On You,” “I Don’t Know,” “Brand New Angel,” and a duet called “Fallin’ and Flyin’” with Colin Farrell, who stars as country singer Tommy Sweet in the film (watch the pair perform the song while filming a scene for the movie here).
Farrell also sings lead on “Gone, Gone, Gone,” a radio-friendly country jam (seriously, the Irish actor is ready for CMT, you guys. Check out the clip here).
Last but not least, Robert Duvall turns in a Ralph Stanley-esque a cappella song called “Live Forever.”
We’ve only mentioned the actors thus far, but fear not, for T Bone enlisted his wife Sam Phillips along with other professional musicians Lucinda Williams, the Louvin Brothers, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Buck Owens, and Waylon Jennings—and he included my favorite Townes Van Zandt song to boot. Check out the full tracklist and samples here.