The Coen Brothers’ 2000 film O Brother Where Are Thou? was set in the Depression-era Deep South and billed as a loose adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. It was even nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, despite the fact that both brothers admit to never having read the Odyssey.
Though the film isn’t a musical, the folk and bluegrass songs featured throughout are about as important to the movie’s fabric as any individual character. The Coens enlisted T Bone Burnett to compile a soundtrack of period songs, most recorded by contemporary artists in the old-fashioned style, and several of the film’s set pieces revolve around those performances.
The soundtrack album — made up of 19 old-timey folk/blues songs — went on to sell nearly 8 million copies and win the Grammy award for Best Album of the Year. Imagine this record pulling that off at the turn of the millennium.
Times is harder than ever been before
And the people are driftin’ from door to door
Can’t find no heaven, I don’t care where they go
And you say you had money, you better be sure
‘Cause these hard times will drive you from door to door