Down from the Mountain

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Down from the Mountain
Down from the Mountain poster.jpg
The DVD cover
Directed by Nick Doob
Chris Hegedus
D. A. Pennebaker
Produced by Bob Neuwirth
Frazer Pennebaker
Starring John Hartford
Ralph Stanley
Gillian Welch
Emmylou Harris
Alison Krauss
Cinematography

Joan Churchill
Nick Doob
Chris Hegedus
Bob Neuwirth
Jehane Noujaim
D. A. Pennebaker

Jojo Pennebaker
Edited by Nick Doob
D. A. Pennebaker
Distributed by Mike Zoss Productions
Lions Gate Entertainment
Release dates
  • December 2000 (2000-12)
Running time 94 min.
Country U.S.
Language English

Down from the Mountain is a 2000 documentary and concert film featuring a live performance by country and traditional music artists who participated in the Grammy-winning soundtrack recording for the Joel and Ethan Coen film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? The concert, held on May 24, 2000 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, was a benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The documentary was directed by Nick Doob, Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker. The artists in the concert also participated in a Down from the Mountain concert tour.

Summary[edit]

The concert film is preceded by a 30-minute documentary, featuring the various artists traveling to the Ryman Auditorium and rehearsing for the show.

Time is spent with bluegrass star Ralph Stanley, who rides in a limousine to Nashville, Tennessee, and is interviewed on radio station WSM and introduced as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry, despite having performed professionally as a country musician since the 1960s.

Documentarian D. A. Pennebaker, director of such musical documentary films as Dont Look Back and Monterey Pop, co-directed Down from the Mountain.

John Hartford, who acts as master of ceremonies for the concert, is interviewed while piloting a paddlewheeler riverboat, and he talks about his time as a towboat pilot on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers. It is his last filmed appearance before his death on June 4, 2001.

T-Bone Burnett is seen working with the girl trio, the Peasall Sisters, instructing guitarist Chris Sharp to increase the tempo on their number, "In the Highways", to rock and roll speed. "Can't you relate to rock and roll?" Burnett asks the bluegrass musician.

Emmylou Harris reveals her obsession with Major League Baseball, showing that she carries a Motorola pager that tracks the action in all the games being played that day.

Gillian Welch explains that Harris and Alison Krauss took delight in making her sing the highest part in their trio, "Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby", when both Harris and Krauss have higher-register voices. Harris sang the bass part on the song, which is unusual for the singer, who is well known for her role as the "angel" vocalist in duets and backing vocals with other artists.

The concert is introduced by Holly Hunter, a cast member from O Brother, Where Art Thou?. She explains the presence of cameramen on the stage by making a joke about it being "dress-down Wednesday" at the FBI and that several agents have joined the performance that night. Another cast member, Tim Blake Nelson, is seen backstage talking to Emmylou Harris, recalling a performance she gave at a bar on her 38th birthday (she jokes that she sang "38 With a Bullet"). The Coen Brothers are in the crowd, as is Billy Bob Thornton.

Performances in the film[edit]

  1. "Po' Lazarus" – arrangement by Alan Lomax; performed by the Fairfield Four (Isaac Freeman, Wilson Waters, Robert Hamlett, Joseph Rice and Nathan Best)
  2. "Big Rock Candy Mountain" – traditional; performed by John Hartford, vocals and fiddle; Mike Compton, mandolin; Chris Sharp, guitar; Larry Perkins, bass
  3. "Wild Bill Jones" – traditional; performed by Alison Krauss and Union Station (Alison Krauss, vocals and fiddle; Dan Tyminski, vocals and guitar; Barry Bales, bass; Jerry Douglas, dobro; Ron Block, banjo)
  4. "Blue and Lonesome" – traditional; performed by Alison Krauss and Union Station
  5. "Green Pastures" – traditional; performed by Emmylou Harris, vocals and guitar; Gillian Welch, vocals; David Rawlings, vocals and guitar; Jerry Douglas, dobro; Barry Bales, bass
  6. "Indian War Whoop" – written by Hoyt Ming and Pep Steppers; performed by John Hartford, fiddle; Gillian Welch, vocals; Mike Compton, mandolin; Chris Sharp, guitar; Larry Perkins, bass
  7. "Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby" – arrangement by Alan Lomax, T-Bone Burnett and Gillian Welch; performed by Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and Gillian Welch
  8. "John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto'" – Chris Thomas King and Colin Linden, slide resonator guitars and vocals.
  9. "I Am Weary (Let Me Rest)" – written by Pete Kuykendall (Pete Roberts);[1] performed by the Cox Family (Suzanne Cox, vocals and mandolin; Evelyn Cox, guitar; Sidney Cox, banjo; Willard Cox, vocals and fiddle; Barry Bales, bass; Mike Compton, mandolin)
  10. "Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown?" – traditional; performed by the Cox Family
  11. "In the Highways" – written by Maybelle Carter; performed by Leah, Sarah and Hannah Peasall, vocals; Chris Sharp, guitar
  12. "Down in the River to Pray" – traditional; performed by Alison Krauss with the First Baptist Church Choir of White House, Tennessee
  13. "Man of Constant Sorrow" – arrangement by Ed Haley; solo fiddle by John Hartford
  14. "Dear Someone" – written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings; performed by Gillian Welch, vocals; David Rawlings, vocals and guitar; John Hartford, fiddle; Mike Compton, mandolin
  15. "I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll" – written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings; performed by Gillian Welch, vocals; David Rawlings, vocals and guitar
  16. "Keep on the Sunny Side" – written by Ada Blenkhorn and J. Howard Entwisle; performed by The Whites (Sharon White, vocals and guitar; Cheryl White, vocals and bass; Buck White, vocals and guitar; Jerry Douglas, dobro)
  17. "Shove That Hog's Foot Further in the Bed" – written by Ed Haley; performed by John Hartford, vocals and fiddle; Mike Compton, mandolin; Chris Sharp, guitar; Larry Perkins, bass
  18. "O Death" – traditional; performed by Ralph Stanley
  19. "Angel Band" – traditional; performed by Ralph Stanley and cast

Soundtrack album[edit]

Down from the Mountain: Live Concert Performances by the Artists & Musicians of O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released July 24, 2001
Recorded May 24, 2000
Ryman Auditorium
Nashville, Tennessee
Genre Traditional, bluegrass, country, gospel, blues
Length 43:07
Label Lost Highway
Producer T-Bone Burnett
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars [2]

The soundtrack album, Down from the Mountain: Live Concert Performances by the Artists & Musicians of O Brother, Where Art Thou? was released to complement the documentary concert film. It has the complete versions of songs that are interrupted in the film by backstage chatter, including "John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto'" by Chris Thomas King and Colin Linden and "Will There Be Any Stars?" by the Cox Family. Another track, "Sandy Land" by The Whites, does not appear in the film.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Po Lazarus" (Fairfield Four) – 4:38
  2. "Big Rock Candy Mountain" (John Hartford) – 4:39
  3. "Wild Bill Jones" (Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Dan Tyminski) – 4:13
  4. "Blue and Lonesome" (Alison Krauss and Union Station) – 4:00
  5. "I Am Weary" (The Cox Family) – 3:34
  6. "Will There Be Any Stars?" (The Cox Family) – 3:06
  7. "My Dear Someone" (Gillian Welch and David Rawlings) – 3:11
  8. "I Want To Sing That Rock and Roll" (Gillian Welch and David Rawlings) – 2:55
  9. "Sandy Land" The Whites – 2:34
  10. "John Law Burned Down the Liquor Sto'" (Chris Thomas King and Colin Linden) – 4:26
  11. "Green Pastures" (Emmylou Harris) – 3:26
  12. "I'll Fly Away" (Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss) – 4:05

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2001) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 10
U.S. Billboard 200 102

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]