Walk The Line: Soundtrack
Review By Jim
Moulton, CSO Contributing Journalist
When the producer of this movie, James Mangold, interviewed Joaquin Phoenix for the job of being Johnny Cash, he said that he did not want a Cash impersonator, but a person who could capture the soul of Cash. Phoenix more than played the role,
he lived it, and made you believe that he was Cash.
The soundtrack has sixteen tracks from the film, mostly Phoenix, but also Reese Witherspoon as June Carter, Waylon Payne as Jerry Lee Lewis, and Tyler Hilton as Elvis.
The CD was produced by T Bone Burnette who also plays guitar on it. Some great musicians inhabit this
recording; Norman Blake (acoustic guitar), Jack Clement (acoustic guitar
& former Sun producer of Cash), Dennis Crouch on stand-up bass. Jamie Hartford does a great job of playing Luther Perkins' riffs and getting that boom chicka boom sound going. Burnette does a great job of capturing the music in the era, it is not overdone and has a nice live vibe to it. Mastered by Gavin Larsen at Doug Sax's Mastering Lab in California. Not the most polished recording, but back in the Sun days, they did not have polished recordings. Larsen does a great job of putting plenty of analog warmth to the recording and just adding the final touch.
Phoenix really sings his songs well and the chicka-boom sound is a movin' and shakin'. "Get Rhythm" starts the CD and Phoenix immediately pulls you in. Phoenix nails "I Walk The Line", the band plays perfectly behind him; nothing fancy. "Wildwood Flower" sang by Reese Witherspoon is an acoustic gem, just her, acoustic guitar and auto harp.
Some of the best songs are "Ring OF Fire", "Folsom Prison Blues", "Jackson", "It Ain't Me" (Witherspoon and Phoenix), "Juke Box Blues" (Witherspoon) and "Home Of The Blues"
You will probably have to see the movie to get how good this is (especially if you have a good Cash collection). It is quite an enjoyable listen with a bit of a different vibe than listening to Cash.
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