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You shall Hear things, Wonderful to tell

A decade on, the Coen brothers' woefully underrated O Brother, Where Art Thou? [alt] is remembered for a lot of things: its sun-drenched, sepia-rich cinematography (a pioneer of digital color grading), its whimsical humor, fluid vernacular, and many subtle references to Homer's Odyssey. But one part of its legacy truly stands out: the music. Assembled by T-Bone Burnett, the soundtrack is a cornucopia of American folk music, exhibiting everything from cheery ballads and angelic hymns to wistful blues and chain-gang anthems. Woven into the plot of the film through radio and live performances, the songs lent the story a heartfelt, homespun feel that echoed its cultural heritage, a paean and uchronia of the Old South. Though the multiplatinum album was recently reissued, the movie's medley is best heard via famed documentarian D. A. Pennebaker's Down from the Mountain, an extraordinary yet intimate concert film focused on a night of live music by the soundtrack's stars (among them Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Chris Thomas King, bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley) and wryly hosted by John Hartford, an accomplished fiddler, riverboat captain, and raconteur whose struggle with terminal cancer made this his last major performance. The film is free in its entirety on Hulu and YouTube -- click inside for individual clips, song links, and breakdowns of the set list's fascinating history. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 22, 2011 - 107 comments

To be fair, the desk is pretty small.

Since 2008, NPR's All Songs Considered has been doing the Tiny Desk Concert series in which they invite a musician or band or very large group to come and play a song behind the desk of the show's host, Bob Bollen, with the video camera running. The result can be intimate, absurd, raucous and just plain enjoyable. A browseable archive of all 150+ shows is here. [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf on Aug 14, 2011 - 42 comments

"A two-piece band called Gillian Welch" releases its first new album since 2003

Singer-songwriter Gillian Welch has released her first new album in eight years, The Harrow and the Harvest. Welch, who writes, plays, and tours with her partner David Rawlings, combines multiple influences that extend well beyond the borders of Appalachian folk, bluegrass, and Americana, to what Alec Wilkinson has called "at once innovative and obliquely reminiscent of past rural forms" in his 2004 New Yorker profile. [more inside]
posted by liketitanic on Jun 30, 2011 - 41 comments

American music

All old things become new again. Traditional American music, such as Del McCoury and Doc Watson being explored and reinvented by new artists. Gillian Welch and Old Crow Medicine Show , Chatham County Line- Route 23 , and The Be Good Tanyas - The Littlest Birds. Just to name a few. [all youtube]
posted by nola on Mar 10, 2007 - 16 comments

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