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Transamerica Soundtrack 2005
Composer: David Mansfield
Artists: David Mansfield, Miriam Makeba, Old Crow Medicine Show, Larry Sparks, Duncan Sheik, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jim Louderdale, Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Heather Myles, Wylie & The Wild West, Lucinda Williams and Dolly Parton
Label: Nettwerk 06700-30475-2-4 (2005)
21 tracks
Running Length: 56 minutes

Felicity Huffman (television’s “Desperate Housewives”) is the star of Transamerica, and plays a man who is surgically changed to a woman named Bree. Bree is working with a therapist (Elizabeth Pena) and told to settle all things with her past before starting a new life. At this time, however, Bree finds out that she has a son (Kevin Zegers) who is now in jail. Bree springs the kid from jail under the pretense of being a missionary and takes him to Los Angeles. Each person is hiding something from the other and ultimately the film is about parenting and acceptance. The film is rated R. Felicity Huffman received a 2005 Academy Award nomination for Best Actress as Bree. Dolly Parton received a 2005 Academy Award nomination for Best Song Written for a Film for “Travelin’ Thru.”

The soundtrack for Transamerica is decidedly bluegrass and the artists range from The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to Old Crow Medicine Show to Heather Myles, Lucinda Williams, and Dolly Parton. The songs are tied together by bits of dialogue by Huffman or Graham Greene, but this takes away from the flow of the CD. Best to let the music speak for itself. The storyline is of choices and the consequences of those choices. The music chosen for this CD shows that, with gospel and the idea that no matter what, there is always family.

Miriam Makeba begins the CD with the rhythmic “Jol’Indomo.” Larry Sparks has the Gospel, “Lay My Burden Down” and then reminds us that “There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder,” a familiar ballad. Duncan Sheik’s “I Am A Pilgrim” speaks to everyone on a journey. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band stands out with “I Find Jesus” and “Fish Song.” 

Old Crow Medicine Show tells it like it is, “We’re All In This Together.” 

Composer David Mansfield’s instrumentals are used as interludes, such as “Headin’ West,” “High Plains” and a special “Beautiful Dreamer” arrangement from the Stephen Foster song. Of these three, “Beautiful Dreamer” is the best for mood.

The CD showcases four women’s voices. First, there is Miriam Makeba, then, Heather Myles belts out “You're Gonna Love Me One Day” with great phrasing. At the end of the CD are Lucinda Williams and Dolly Parton. Williams has her own “Like A Rose” as only she can do it. Dolly Parton, who wrote “Travelin’ Thru” especially for Transamerica, ends the CD with eloquence. As far as soundtrack compilations goes, Transamerica is decidedly above average in selection of artists and songs. 

Copyright 2006 Marie Asner
Submitted 3/12/06



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