Michael Piersante, recording engineer for producer T-Bone Burnett,used a mix of vintage Neumann and RCA microphones to re-create thesounds for Cold Mountain. Piersante revealed that the songs forCold Mountain are more simply arranged to capture “the feeling that themusic is being played by real people sitting on their porch playing asong on a banjo or a fiddle.”
“It’s less of a band and a singer and more like a couple ofsoldiers sitting in the woods, playing and singing,” Piersantecontinued. “The music is their few release and theirentertainment.”
Piersante used his own vintage U47 and U67 transducers, two pairs ofM 582s and a pair of CMV 563 microphones. “With those mics, I canrecord just about anything well,” he observed.
To create the sounds of the Civil War era, Piersante traveled toNashville’s Sound Emporium. “The first tracks were used while shootingthe picture,” he continued. “They were remixed during post-production.”According to Piersante, director Anthony Minghella went “for theultimate realism” with the music in the movie, not only with thetraditional compositions but also the musicianship of the performersand vintage instruments. “Some of the musicians have long studied musicthat is pertinent to the Civil War era. Guitar player Norman Blake andStuart Duncan, who played fiddle, were involved, as was Riley Bogus, anaficionado of this old-style music, and Ralph Stanley (OBrother) sang some amazing songs with a choir. Mike Compton playedmandolin, and Dirk Powell played banjo.” Jack White of the WhiteStripes reportedly has a small role as a Confederate Army deserter andwill also sing several songs in the movie, which he recorded at theNashville sessions. Pianist Gabriel Yared plays a song with NicoleKidman singing, and the Sacred Harp singers of Alabama were alsoinvolved with a remote recording done in their church. Darrell Leonardcomposed a song for a civil war era marching band and was performed bythe Americus Brass Band.