All the Pretty Horses

Sony Music Soundtrax/Sony Classical

As so many film soundtrack CDs consist of whatever’s on the Top 10 the week the film is released, it’s refreshing to find one on which real live musicians (who aren’t named Danny Elfman) have produced original songs specifically geared to the texture and plot of the film. It’s especially refreshing when it’s done so well. Marty Stuart produced, co-wrote and plays guitar and mandolin on this beautiful album of cowboy songs, waltzes and tangos. I’m told the filmmaker, Mr. Billy Bob Thornton, listened to nothing but Chet Atkins while writing the screenplay; Atkins’ forays into Latin music are an obvious influence. A few songs sound a bit overproduced: To my ears, the orchestra seems out of place. But mostly the arrangements are appropriately sparse. The set includes a cover of Bill Monroe’s “My Last Day on Earth” and one vocal track, “Far Away,” which Stuart delivers in a sweet voice reminiscent of Willie Nelson.