Tag Archives: O Brother Where Art Thou?

Directors: The Coen Brothers

With movies like The Big Lebowski in their past, the Coen brothers' pictures are almost like cult films. But you don't get Academy Awards for Best Picture - as they did for Fargo and No Country for Old Men - if you're directing cult movies. Uploaded by msnbcmedia1.msn.com.

I have both brothers down as Directors, because they’ve shared those duties, though until recently only Joel Coen received directing credit. Brother Ethan typically received credit as producer, the brothers shared writing credits, and they also edit their own films, using the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes. They are informally known in Hollywood as “The Two-Headed Director.”

You’d almost consider their movies as cult films, except cult films don’t win Academy Awards. But there’s no question that certain of their pictures have achieved cult status, most notably The Big Lebowski. And the brothers have developed a loyal following. From their first movie, Blood Simple, in 1984 to the upcoming (as I write this) release of the remake of True Grit, there’s a special buzz among movie lovers when “a new Coen Brothers movie is coming.” For me, it’s the writing, which is inevitably memorable. O Brother is one of the most quotable movies of all time.

True Grit will be their 15th movie. Some have already received recognition as Great American Things: Raising Arizona (January 31, 2010), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (June 5, 2009 – 2 nominations ), and Fargo (July 16, 2009 – 7 nominations, won Best Picture). Among their other outstanding films: Miller’s Crossing * Barton Fink – 3 nominations * The Hudsucker Proxy * The Man Who Wasn’t There – 1 nomination * No Country for Old Men – 8 nominations, won Best Picture * A Serious Man – 2 nominations.

Singer: Alison Krauss

Is this the face of bluegrass music? Let's hope so. Uploaded by img.gactv.com.

Is this the face of bluegrass music? Let's hope so. Uploaded by img.gactv.com.

If you had to choose a face for modern bluegrass music, you couldn’t choose one much more appealing than that of Alison Krauss. She sings with that gentle soprano voice and plays a mean fiddle. And here’s a fact I found amazing – she’s won 26 Grammy Awards, making her the most-awarded female artist in Grammy history. Some face!

Uploaded by puremusic.com.

Uploaded by puremusic.com.

She began as a child phenom, garnering her first record contract at the age of 14. She had begun by studying classical violin, but switched to fiddle (more comfortable for the chin) and won talent contests at the ripe old age of eight. I’m not sure if she’d have received exposure to bluegrass in her hometown of Champaign, Illinois, but she was fortunate that her parents were from Columbus, Mississippi. The result is pure bluegrass without the mountain twang that alienates so many outsiders.

Through the years she’s collaborated with a number of artists, often from other musical genres, and has created a rich diversity of songs. Among the artists she’s performed or recorded with are Dolly Parton, Sting, Elvis Costello, Brad Paisley, and John Waite.

Her most recent collaboration was with rocker Robert Plant, with whom she recorded the album Raising Sand. Not only did the album produce the Grammy Record of the Year (“Please Read the Letter”) but it also went on to capture Album of the Year honors. It beat out Coldplay, Radiohead, Lil Wayne, and something called Ne-Yo.

I have to admit it was her performances on the soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou? that won me over.