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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Down From The Mountain
Down From The Mountain
Artisan // G // October 23, 2001
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Phillip Duncan | posted November 4, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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Down from the Mountain is a cross between a concert film and a documentary. It's a visual record of the concert here in Nashville, TN that was held to celebrate the group of artist and musicians that contributed to the soundtrack for the Coen Brother's film O' Brother Where Art Thou.

It's a cross because there really isn't that much behind-the-scenes information given out. The performers are shown rehearsing and arriving, but the process that brought them together isn't discussed. Likewise, the concert is cut-away from a few times to observe something that is happening backstage. It's annoying, but something that only happens a few times.

Overall, buy this disc for the concert footage. Held at the historic Ryman auditorium in Nashville, the sound alone is worth the price for this disc. Converted from an old church, the Ryman still has wooden benches instead of seats. Combine that with the wooden stage and old architecture and you have one of the warmest sounding concert halls you will ever hear. I've experienced the Ryman first hand and the sound of the music bouncing off the wood just fills you. This DVD captures that warmth and reproduces it well.

Filled with a mix of Bluegrass, Old Country and Gospel, this disc may not be for everyone. I am not a huge fan of the music, but I loved the Coen film and it's hard not to enjoy the sound on this disc. The talent of the people involved shines trough and makes it enjoyable.

The DVD:

The Video: There is not a lot here to write about. The video was likely digital and hand-held so the quality isn't incredible until you get to the concert footage, which was shot better. It's never distracting and actually brings a warmth and closeness to the documentary part of the film. The films original aspect of 1.77:1 is preserved with a nice, clean Anamorphic transfer.

The Sound: The disc really shines in this area. There is a warmth captured in the sound here. The echoes and applause through the rear speakers mix with the continuous low frequency from the sub to produce an incredible listening experience. The higher bit-rate capable of DVD also lends itself well to this.

The Extras: Sadly, there are not true extras on the disc. Only the standard trailer, production notes and cast and crew info are included.

Overall: This disc is definitely worth picking up if you are a fan of the Coen Brother's film or a fan of this type of music. Sadly, there is no direct access to each song, but you would be hard pressed to find a song you would want to skip.
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