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*** VARIOUS ARTISTS, "Down From the Mountain," \o7 Lost Highway

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July 29, 2001|RANDY LEWIS

Having tapped Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, the Cox Family and a slew of others for the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," producer T Bone Burnett and filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen didn't want to let a good thing go. So they invited the participants to Nashville's Ryman Auditorium for an evening of old-timey songs from "O Brother" sung live and filmed by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

With the "O Brother" soundtrack back atop the country album chart and in the Top 20 of the pop ranking again now that the movie is out on video, the timing of this soundtrack from the recently released documentary is ideal.

The performances are consistently gorgeous, from the a cappella rendering of "Po Lazarus" by gospel's Fairfield Four through the closing Welch-Krauss duet on "I'll Fly Away."

Pop fans who were introduced to acoustic American traditional music via "O Brother" probably will find this album another revelation; longtime fans can simply celebrate a stellar lineup making this primal music as good as it gets.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two (fair), three (good) and four (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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