By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Traditional American roots music has continued to grow in mainstream popularity since the commercial explosion of the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack in 2000. Now, a new film-inspired collection of unfiltered mountain music has made its way into the public consciousness, thanks to its association with the movie that was simply robbed when it came to its lack of speeches on Oscar night: Winter's Bone.
The praised 2010 independent film, which might as well have been called O Meth-Cooker, Where Art Thou?, is adapted from Daniel Woodrell's stellar novel about a wise-way-beyond-her-years teen who desperately and dangerously seeks her drug-dealing dad and journeys into the evil core of Ozark-style organized crime to save her family home. Thankfully, there was one brief clip where spirits were lightened a tad, thanks to a sweet living room pickin' session.
That party scene, led by Meredith Sisco, a practical scholar on the sociology and arts of the Ozarks, gave viewers an unexpected and truthful glimpse into the musical blood of the mountainous region. The soundtrack, which features reworked folk and gospel classics from Sisco, along with her band, Missouri's The Blackberry Winter Band, possesses the chilling, unvarnished ridges the O Brother's album didn't attempt.
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Capitalizing off of that success, Sisco is taking The Blackberry Winter Band out on the road, performing the music of the movie that made them famous—like The Swell Season, but without the pretension.