various artists,
Because of Winn-Dixie
(Nettwerk America, 2005)

The Because of Winn-Dixie soundtrack CD offers a great sounding and tuneful collection of singer-songwriter and finely crafted pop/rock songs that works equally well whether you've seen the movie or not. Most of the songs are exclusive and not available elsewhere, and some were written specifically for the movie. This soundtrack is so well done, let's go track by track.

The record opens with a pleasant alt-country tune by the Be Good Tanyas called "Opal's Blues," written for the movie in reference to the main character, Opal, a 10-year-old girl who adopts a stray dog that she encounters while shopping in a Winn-Dixie supermarket. Leigh Nash, the very appealing voice of Sixpence None the Richer, contributes a song that could have and should have been a great pop single, "I've Gotta See You Smile," also unique to this project.

The Beu Sisters wrote and recorded "Someday Somehow" specifically for this movie and it sounds like another superbly produced pop single. In a similar vein, Alice Peacock's "Sunflower" comes from her Who I Am album. Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne teams up with James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins for a rousing exclusive cover version of "Splish Splash" that plays in the movie while the dog is getting bathed; soapy wet dog gets loose, hilarity ensues. Shirley Ellis' original oldie "The Clapping Song" can easily transport listeners of any age back to childhood.

The Finn Brothers are masters of well-crafted pop, and "Won't Give In" is a prime example. "Cabaret" is one of the best tunes I've ever heard Emmylou Harris do, with some excellent electric guitar work, a most comfortable fit in this collection and another exclusive track. Shawn Colvin turns in a great sounding cover of "Fly," a Joe Henry composition that also can't be found elsewhere.

Unlike many movie soundtracks where songs are simply compiled to sell CDs and promote the movie without necessarily even being audible, the tunes on Because of Winn-Dixie are all heard prominently during the movie. One Norah Jones song featured in the movie didn't make the soundtrack disc. Dave Matthews has an acting role in the movie, playing a character who is a musician working in a pet store, and his character performs music as part of the story. None of the Matthews tunes are included on the CD; however, in fairness, most of his musical scenes seem somewhat improvisational. There is one touching scene in which the Matthews character sings for all of his pet shop animals that he has let out of their cages for the in-store concert. Matthews also did a great job arranging and producing "Glory Glory," a gospel song well performed on the CD by Patrinell Wright and Gloria Smith. In the movie, the entire cast sings this song in the final scene, which worked well in the movie and the cast version would have been a nice addition to the soundtrack disc. The CD concludes with three tracks from the instrumental score by Rachel Portman.

If you like any of the artists or if you are a fan of the movie, you will most certainly enjoy all of this CD. It's almost hard to believe with the multitude of people listed on the soundtrack production credits that any coherent collection could result, but such good taste was exercised in the song selection that Because of Winn-Dixie stands as one of the best movie soundtracks I've heard in a very long time.

by William Kates
5 May 2007

[ visit the website ]

Buy it from