This week on the music beat

— SOUTH COUNTRY BLUES Ever notice how Bob Dylan looks more like a Civil War general every day? There might be a reason: The gray garbler recently recorded ”’Cross the Green Mountain,” a seven-plus-minute folk ballad for the Civil War pic Gods and Generals, hitting theaters in December. A prequel to 1993’s Gettysburg, the film tells the story of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson. ”Jackson grew up in what is now West Virginia,” says director Ron Maxwell, who also helmed Gettysburg. ”We thought, What artist best embodies the spirit of this man? Folk music comes out of Appalachia. It’s what [Civil War-era] people were listening to.” Recorded with Dylan’s longtime backing band, ”Green Mountain” includes 12 meandering verses that imply ”the story of Stonewall Jackson, but it’s also about the whole Civil War, and it’s about more universal themes,” says Maxwell. ”People will hear an echo of an earlier Dylan.”

— MARIAH CARRIES ON After being bought out by Virgin in January, you’d think Mariah Carey would want to retreat to an island. And that’s exactly what she’s done. Post-meltdown, Carey hightailed it to Capri, Italy, where she began work on a new CD even before she had a new record deal. In May, she inked a $20 million, three-album contract with Def Jam, and now the Capri sessions are in high gear, with A-list vets and Carey coproducing. R&B gurus Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have helped craft five tracks, while hip-hop heavyweights Jermaine Dupri and Irv Gotti have also stopped by. ”It really hasn’t been different this time than it was before, except that it’s been a little more relaxed,” reports Jam, who also worked on Rainbow and Glitter. ”She’s relieved to be back in the studio. She’s very rested. Her voice sounds wonderful.” And will this still-untitled disc, due Dec. 10 (the first single drops in September), improve on Glitter’s bitter reception? ”I feel good about its chances, sales-wise,” says Jam. ”We never get involved with projects to fail.” Did we mention he worked on Glitter?