Argentina-born, California-based Gustavo Santaolalla helped shape the rock en Español movement by producing Mexican bands Molotov and Café Tacuba , and Colombian singer Juanes. In the late 1990s he made a switch to soundtracks, working on well-received albums for Amores Perros and The Motorcycle Diaries. His instrumental contributions to Ang Lee's tale of two cowboys in love are acoustic guitar-based and, let's face it, a bit on the sonic-wallpaper side.
The vocal tracks, on the other hand, are uniformly lovely, even if the selection of interpreters falls on the predictable side. Linda Ronstadt, Steve Earle, Willie Nelson, and Mary McBride on the soundtrack to a contemporary Western? What a shock! Still, they're all wonderful and Santaolalla wrote at least a couple of classic-sounding country ballads ("A Love That Will Never Grow Old," sung by Emmylou Harris, and "No One's Gonna Love You Like Me," sung by Mary McBride). And don't miss Teddy Thompson and Rufus Wainwright's sweet cover of Roger Miller's 1964 "King of the Road." --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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