This soundtrack to the three-hour Public Television documentary of the same name chronicles the region's rich musical heritage from the Carter Family through Ricky Skaggs. It's a harrowing assignment, and while one could argue for days over which Jimmie Rodgers song to use -- the producers chose "Waiting for a Train" -- they've done a nice job balancing the old and the new, resulting in a listening experience that's infinitely more esoteric than collections' past. Highlights include Kentucky native Jean Ritchie's heartbreaking "West Virginia Mine Disaster," the Alabama Sacred Harp Singers' reverent and spooky "Northfield" and Paul Burch's contemporary sepia-toned painting "Electricity." Fans of the genre, especially those that like their old timey music peppered with equal parts field recording and modern stereo-goodness, will find much to love here.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger