When the time came for the Coen Brothers to find the music for their Southern period piece comedy, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” they asked record producer T Bone Burnett to lend a hand. They wanted original recordings of old-timey, American folk music. What they came up with was a sprawling mix of authentic bluegrass musicians and contemporary alternative country stars that resulted in a surprisingly successful soundtrack album. Featured on the soundtrack are Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, John Hartford, Ralph Stanley, David Rawlings, and Chris Thomas King, among others.
“In May of 2000, plans were made for the artists on the soundtrack to gather and perform the music from the film at a special concert at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. T Bone Burnett enlisted producer Bob Neuwirth to assemble a team of all star filmmakers.
The resulting Down From The Mountain documents the evening’s concert, complete with backstage preparations and rehearsals. Co-produced by Frazer Pennebaker, the film by D A Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus and Nick Doob captures a joyous and free-spirited celebration of a truly American musical form.
John Hartford died just about a year after this album was recorded, at the age of 63. He was in his prime. John was a living library of old fiddle tunes and river songs, mountain music and lore about the people who played it. Some of it is gone with him; this film is part of the enormous share that he left behind – on records, and with the people who knew him.”
— Joel Cohen, Ethan Cohen, and T Bone Burnett
“If you have any affection at all for traditional American music, the movie is pretty close to heaven.”
— A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Featuring Performances by:
Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, The Cox Family, Fairfield Four, The Whites, Chris Thomas King, Colin Linden, John Hartford, Ralph Stanley
By Nick Doob, Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker 2001, 98 min., color The Coen Brothers present a film by Nick Doob, Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker “Down From The Mountain” Featuring The Cox Family, Fairfield Four, Emmylou Harris, John Hartford, Chris Thomas King, Alison Krauss, David Rawlings & Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley, The Whites Documentary Sound Coordinator Alan Barker Editors: Nick Doob and D A Pennebaker Executive Producers: T Bone Burnett, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen Producers: Bob Neuwirth and Frazer Pennebaker Associate Producer: Rebecca Marshall Directed by Nick Doob, Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker © 2000 Mike Zoss Productions