This week marks 25 years since the released of this epic movie soundtrack by k.d. lang via Rhino Records. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues is a soaring smooth-country album that adds a great deal of depth to a leftfield, satirical drama like Gus Van Sant's movie, with k.d. lang's voice permeating through the very heart of the story.
Featuring songs like the dreamy Lifted by Love, the 16-song soundtrack was written by the four-time Grammy winning country singer in collaboration with her long-time partner in music Ben Mink. It was released a year after Lang's second album Ingénue and reached number 4 in the New Zealand chart (and number 6 in the Canadian country chart).
Unfortunately, the film - starring Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves, John Hurt and Rain Phoenix - wasn't the biggest hit in the world. In fact, it was a commercial and critical flop, but it was based on the wonderfully entertaining 1976 novel of the same name by Tom Robbins.
Lead character Sissy Hankshaw is a bisexual, disabled hitchhiker born with extra-long thumbs, but still she is a model and enjoys a fulfilling sex life. The book and the movie were bursting with themes of lesbianism, feminism, free love and the wonders of being different. K.d. lang knows all about that; she's spent her life campaigning for gay rights, and came out as a lesbian herself the year before the film was released.
Even if there were flaws in every area of the adaptation, it was a light and entertaining viewing experience. Critics will always be searching for a deeper meaning, but the point of this film is to show this character's life head-on in the most uncomplicated way.
Sadly, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues was k.d. lang's only soundtrack album, but she has since gone on to release five more studio albums, three collaborative records, a live album and three compilations. She has also made contributions to other film soundtracks including 1990's Dick Tracy, 1991's Salmonberries and 1999's Anywhere but Here.