Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air is set in airports and boardrooms across the United States, opening itself up to a soundtrack like the one Randall Poster and Rick Clark assembled: a collection of songs that speak to what America is today. Not for nothing do the movie and album open with Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings' funky Southern soul revamping of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” -- not only does it give a contemporary spin on a standard, it gives away how the album is based in blues and folk. If anything, the scale tips decidedly toward the latter, with blues-rockers Dan Auerbach and Roy Buchanan represented by atypically acoustic strummers, all the better to fit the sound of the rest of the record, which is firmly within 2009’s indie folk scene and anchored by two cuts from the Crosby, Stills & Nash camp. All this reflective picking is designed to complement the inward journey of George Clooney’s lead character, and sometimes the music underscores the introspection a might bit hard (who would expect anything less from a singer/songwriter called Sad Brad Smith), but much of this is sweet, gentle, and, in the case of the title cut by Kevin Renick -- a singer/songwriter who was laid off of his job, just like so many characters in the film, and submitted the song to Reitman unsolicited -- quite moving.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine