The Rookie soundtrack arrived when Ryan Adams was still an alt-country poster boy and the music of O Brother, Where Art Thou? reigned the album charts. The momentous enthusiasm surrounding dirt-road country-rock moved beyond the clichés of Nashville, and The Rookie fit the mold as one of the enjoyable compilations of 2002. The Dennis Quaid flick of the same name wasn't just a baseball movie; it was a story of personal conviction and loyalty. The music of The Rookie soaked up such spiritual simplicity with rootsy rock & roll by the likes of Guy Clark, John Fogerty, and Willie Nelson, as well as other favorites. Bluesy and ballsy in the vein of her famous sister, Shelby Lynne, Allison Moorer's "Tumbling Down" is a soulful Southern ballad, whereas Ryan Adams' "In My Time of Need" is delicate with his aching vocals and bittersweet tone. Steve Earle, who exclusively cut "Some Dreams" for the movie, boasts classic country with twangy guitar licks; it's incredibly good-natured, but weathered. The lazy drawl of "There Is a Light" from Duane Jarvis and the gritty Memphis feel of John Hiatt's "Slow Turning" make The Rookie a confident, solid compilation, without losing sight of the film's inspirational message.
AllMusic Review by MacKenzie Wilson