LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mercury Nashville staffers are at the International Bluegrass Music Association meeting here to give a marketing push to the upcoming soundtrack for the Coen Brothers’ film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? The collection includes tracks by Alison Krauss, The Whites, Ralph Stanley, The Cox Family and John Hartford, among others. Mercury marketing chief John Grady spoke to the IBMA gathering Tuesday during lunch.
Mercury is teaming with roots label Rounder Records to release the project on Dec. 5. “They’re sort of leading us into the bluegrass world and we’re excited about it,” Grady said. The music-filled movie debuts Dec. 22 in New York and Los Angeles, and Dec. 29 nationally. “There aren’t five minutes in the movie where there is not some music playing,” Grady promised.
A documentary film, shot by D.A. Pennebaker in May at a Ryman Auditorium concert, will debut Dec. 5 in Nashville. Grady suggested that the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack and documentary could boost the fortunes of old-time and bluegrass music in the same way that Buena Vista Social Club brought prominence to Afro-Cuban Jazz.
Grady admitted to the audience that his marketing skills have also been applied to selling the very non-traditional music of Shania Twain. The upcoming soundtrack, he told the audience, “delivers the message that old-time and bluegrass music is very much alive.” Grady played a video in which film star George Clooney lip-synchs to a performance by Dan Tyminski of “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow.” The bluegrass audience responded warmly to his presentation.