O Brother, Where Art Thou? is the soundtrack album of music from the 2000 American film of the same name. With the film set in Mississippi during the Great Depression, the soundtrack, produced by T-Bone Burnett, infuses bluegrass, country, gospel, blues, and folk music appropriate to the time period.
The soundtrack experienced a slow climb but eventually went on to sell upwards of 7 million copies. A broad new audience for contemporary artists was reached performing a style of American music—bluegrass—that had been absent from the pop charts for five decades or more. The soundtrack was originally conceived as a major component of the film, not merely as a background or support.
"I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" has five variations: two are used in the film, one in the music video, and two in the soundtrack. Two of the variations feature the verses being sung back-to-back, and the other three variations feature additional music between each verse.
The film boasts some excellent scenes, thanks in no small part to the Coens' direction and some interesting cinematography and art design. However, the film's most mesmerizing moment no doubt comes when the boys encounter three sirens singing on the rocks of a river.
"Big Rock Candy Mountain", first recorded by Harry McClintock in 1928, is a folk music song about a hobo's idea of paradise, a modern version of the medieval concept of Cockaigne. It is a place where "hens lay soft boiled eggs" and there are "cigarette trees." McClintock claimed to have written the song in 1895, based on tales from his youth hoboing through the United States, but some believe that at least aspects of the song have existed for far longer.
And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...