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Down from the Mountain (The "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Concert) (2000)

Ralph Stanley , Emmylou Harris , Chris Hegedus , D.A. Pennebaker  |  G |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

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Down from the Mountain (The "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Concert) + High Lonesome - The Story of Bluegrass Music
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Evelyn Cox, Sidney Cox, Suzanne Cox
  • Directors: Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker, Nick Doob
  • Producers: Bob Neuwirth, Ethan Coen, Frazer Pennebaker, Joel Coen, Rebecca Marshall
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: October 23, 2001
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005NVHA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,863 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Down from the Mountain (The "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Concert)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Synopsis
  • Filmmaker biographies
  • List of songs and musicians

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

A minor quibble with the DVD is the lack of instant song access. The film is in anamorphic widescreen format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 surround sound.

Product Description

On May 24, 2000, the historic Ryman Auditorium was booked to offer Nashvillians an evening of sublime beauty. Label executives and soundtrack producers so loved the music of O Brother, Where Art Thou? that they brought it to life as a benefit concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame. Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen loved it so much that they hired famed documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker to record the show for posterity. The concert that unfolded that night was one of the greatest musical moments in the annals of Music City. Performers: John Hartford, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Chris Thomas King, The Cox Family, Fairfield Four, Union Station, Colin Linden, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, The Peasall Sisters, Ralph Stanley, David Rawlings, The Whites. 98 minutes.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
218 of 224 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb July 17, 2001
Verified Purchase
This movie, part stage show and part local color with a good bit of nostalgia thrown in, is breathtaking, riveting, spellbinding, transcendent. It begins with a night tour of Nashville's exciting places; from the limo window we see Tootsie's, the Ryman Auditorium, Second Avenue, Lower Broadway. We share our ride with Ralph Stanley, who has "come down from the mountain." We spend time backstage at the Ryman while the performers are waiting their turns, and eavesdrop on John Hartford as he spins a tale about wanting to be a librarian. We listen to a couple of blues players talk about their work and discover that Emmylou Harris is a baseball fan. The show itself is country at its best. Rock and roll doesn't show its face; there are no gyrations or big hats or shrill voices. Just country, with memories of the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, and a plethora of old time musicians who sang of hard times and death and endurance. We will always remember Emmylou Harris's sweet, true voice, Allison Krause's melodic outpouring, and Gillian Welch's beautiful harmony. We'll remember the Peasall sisters and the Fairfield Four and Ralph Stanley; but most of all, we'll remember the magic moment when John Hartford began to sing "Big Rock Candy Mountain." It was one of his last performances before he succumbed to cancer, but his voice was steady and strong, and his hands sure on the violin. This was old time music as it should be, and even the newer songs sounded old. It reminds us of how far modern country music has strayed from its roots, and how easy and pleasant it is to go back to them again.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
I wasn't sure that a documentary about bluegrass music was going to be something that a) I would enjoy, b) something I would find compelling or c) something that would turn me onto an area of music and performances enough to make me rethink my former country snobbishness. "Down from the Mountain" made me a convert on all the above bases and more. This documentary-style film about the music and artists who comprise the soundtrack for "Oh, Brother, Where art Thou?" include the immense talents of Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch. These women have ways of lovingly massaging a ballad until it truly has a life of it's own. The soulful words and melodies of family artists like the Whites, and the Cox family are wonderfully done, as are the younger performers who get to ramp up the tempo for their rendition of "Highways and the Hedges". Then there's the wonderfully dry-witted John Hartford, who takes a few moments aside from his emcee responsibilities to give a toe-tapping rendition of "Big Rock Candy Mountain". The film takes you for a backstage pass (OK, is Emmylou Harris THAT big of a baseball fan!) AND a front row performance in the acoustically amazing Ryman Theatre. Through a mix of gospel, bluegrass, blues and country, the viewer gets a real treat of hearing and seeing what was the musical underpinning for the Coen brother's blockbuster film. You might very well meet some new musical artists in this video. I did. They seem to bear a different countenance from other contemporary artists, demonstrating a solid reliance on song style, harmonies, acoustics, and ultimately bringing "everything out but the kitchen sink" in their delivery, and that was it for me. The words are familiar and the songbirds beckon, come smile, cry, clap your hands, or sing, "Hallelujah!", mountain life is pretty good and your journey's just beginning.
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59 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glorious Heartland Sounds, But... December 26, 2001
Down from the Mountain opens with the inimitable, keening tenor of Ralph Stanley, over a photomontage that takes us, literally, down from the mountain with the Stanley Brothers. The filmmakers and their sound recorders have captured the grace, beauty, and power of the music T-Bone Burnett assembled for the Coen Brothers picture. Although this is primarily a concert film, the performers offer some insights into the music, including Dr. Stanley's by now well-known comments on the roots of "bluegrass" and his general preference for other terminology to describe just what it is he sees himself as performing up there on the stage.
It's also interesting to hear the great "high tenor" observe that this is music one is born into--the solitariness of life in the deep backwoods, that Stanley credits for his "lonesome" sound--rather than a thing easily acquired by outsiders. The movie then jumps to a variety of outsiders, who discovered "bluegrass" in collegetown record bins, and their less appealing ruminations on the music. Here we have Gillian Welch, for example, who has a lovely voice and writes pretty songs, revealing herself as precisely the kind of artist with whom Stanley, elsewhere (in a New Yorker profile, of all things), has said he'd rather not play. (And he does look distinctly uncomfortable in their midst.) The filmmakers capture Welch--inadvertently, I think--in what struck me an entirely too condescending a disposition. As a result, her time on screen seems much too long, particularly when there are Allison Krausses and Emmy Lou Harrises in the house.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great show
Published 7 hours ago by J. Bray
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great music and a valuable addition to my collection.
Published 9 days ago by Rkellerhouse
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
unable to play as it is wrong area code for Australia
Published 1 month ago by peter spicer
5.0 out of 5 stars Down From the Mountain/O Brother WAT concert
For me personally, this is one of the best albums I've ever owned out of hundreds from the 1960's on to now. Read more
Published 2 months ago by mike frain
1.0 out of 5 stars Documentary about a concert - Not a documentary of a concert.
It was an interesting documentary, however, Man of Constant Sorrow was not featured in the concert and neither were a couple other of the really good songs. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Robert Passini
5.0 out of 5 stars glad it was avaiable
This was a good add to my collection of music DVD's. I'm glad it was still available and at good price.
Published 5 months ago by Lori K. Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars True Folk
I would so very much have loved to have been there for the live show. Some of the best artists in the genre. A true treasure.
Published 5 months ago by Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Time Music
This DVD was good for the soul. We really enjoyed the music in the movie and wanted to get a concert, not just a CD, of the music, and my wife and I found just that in this DVD. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tony
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good. All thumbs up! Five+ stars!
I just received this as a present and enjoyed it immensely. If you liked the music in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?", I believe you'll enjoy this too!
Published 7 months ago by Coach B
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for traditional music lovers!
Love this great album! It brings together many strands of traditional American music, sung and played by the best. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Yvonne Underwood Emerson
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