Walk the Line Soundtrack, Import
Walk the Line, Soundtrack
This is not a review about Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon's hair. However--as any self-respecting fan knows--in country music, after proving you can pluck a guitar and carry a tune, the power of the right hairstyle is not to be underestimated. Johnny Cash, in fact, was famously vain about his locks--perhaps one of the few things he was vain about--and many a guitar store employee can attest to the fact that when the Man in Black came in to buy his special brand of guitar pick, his hair was dyed a jet black more often seen on a boy of 20 than a man of 60. In any case, Phoenix and Witherspoon's performances as Johnny and June Carter Cash succeed more in the style and hair department than in their musicality. Phoenix fares better than his co-star in reinventing the Cash mystique, and his sweet, almost earnest interpretation of "Get Rhythm" is as charming as it is honest. Unfortunately, the powerful song "Ring of Fire" is flat and wholly without the narrative pull it had when Cash sang it. And Witherspoon is simply not up to the warbling task she's faced with in singing as June Carter Cash. (To be fair, it's hard to know who would be, but the estimable Loretta Lynn or Tift Merritt would have had better luck). Carter Cash's honeyed gift with melody, and the largeness of her voice, honed over decades in live performance, is hard to replicate for even a seasoned singer, and predictably, Witherspoon falls short of the mark. It's certainly seductive to imagine that playing a figure as compelling as Johnny or June would allow an actor to channel the soul and some of the talent of the artist, but the closest this record comes is in "Cry, Cry, Cry," where Phoenix's gravelly voice offers the same sustained thrill that made Johnny Cash irresistible--to June and his fans. --Megan Halverson
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It's a shame. They could have either chosen to make more money with a 2- Disc set, or just chosen the right way to make this.
T-Burn Burnett did a fine job of producing but ultimately we have just a curio here. If you love the movie and you are huge fan of he and she, you'll enjoy the CD.
If this is your first exposure to the Man In Black, please sift thru Amazon for his best at Sun and Columbia, as soon as possible. whew!
Reese and Joaquin put a beautiful new sound on these old classics, and it works! I could listen to this CD over and over.
Now "Times A Wastin'" isn't on the CD, and I saw that someone gave it a bad review because of that. Well June wrote "Times A Wastin'" with her first husband, which is the main reason it's not on the CD. It's not a song that she was inspired to write because of Johnny; it was just a song that she said she'd never sing again, especially with another man, and she did sing it again, with Johnny.
This is an absolutely wonderful compilation of old songs with a new twist. I highly recommend it.