The country music soundtrack T-Bone Burnette and Gillian Welch put together for the Cohen Brothers' flick O Brother, Where Art Thou? has been Billboard's #1 country album for 32 weeks, and is still simmering just under the Top Ten on the Pop Chart, despite the fact that the Nashville-based suits refuse to acknowledge its existence. Lovers of alt country, Americana, or whatever you want to call the music that's being made outside of the Country Music Mainstream assumed that a major alt country hit would change the industry, and bring back music with a bit of dirt on its roots. We now know that that ain't a-gonna happen, even though it seems the tide is finally turning. Down from the Mountain, recorded live at the Ryman Auditorium (formerly the home of the Grand Ol' Opry), and filmed by D.A. Pennebaker to celebrate the success of the O Brother soundtrack, features most of the artists that made O Brother such a delight, and will probably follow its predecessor to the top of the charts. The Cox Family's old-time harmonies on "I Am Weary," the stark a cappella power of the Fairfield Four's "Po Lazarus," John Hartford's crusty vocals on the hobo anthem "Big Rock Candy Mountain," and the neo-traditional sound of Gillian Welch's "My Dear Someone" all showcase the stark beauty of good music, stripped down to its bare essentials. These twelve tracks are another love letter to the folk roots of American music, a celebration of the authentic sounds Nashville foolishly ignores.
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