There is not a better version of Wayfaring Stranger than the one sung here on this soundtrack by Jack White. It's so good that when I played it for my rock and roll son (16 years old), he flipped over it, then played it for his friends (who also loved it), and it became a sort of underground hit for many at his high school. Jack sings it so pure and so simple that I have to believe that this is what it probably sounded like in its original form in the 19th century.
But wait - that's not all! I Wish My Baby Was Born - another 19th century gem - is sung with such emotion that it will tear your heart out.
Then there is Cassie Franklin singing (yet again from the 19th century) Lady Margaret, another heartfelt and sorrowful song, this time sung in accapella.
Ruby With The Eyes That Sparkle is an upbeat instrumental that's filled with bluegrass at its finest, as is The Cuckoo.
The other traditional tunes with Jack White, along with the more contemporary offerings featuring the Reeltime Travelers and Alison Krauss are all top notch. The Gabriel Yared numbers are the only real downfall of this disc, hence the four stars instead of five. Then again, it IS a soundtrack.
This collection does not claim to be bluegrass, or even country, as other reviewers feel it does. I don't even call it 'roots.' It's traditional music done in a traditional style, and is a fine collection of something one doesn't hear on the radio.
I had the pleasure of attending the Cold Mountain concert this past spring in Detroit (where Jack White made a special guest appearance - yes, he did an awesome job on Wayfaring Stranger!), and virtually all the above artists named (except Yared) performed there and helped create a truly magical night of traditional music.