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.