Apr 1, 2013
So many thank yous this weekend for our battle site recordings in Atlanta ("Copenhill") and Coffee County, Alabama ("Grancer Harrison").
BIG thank yous to:
-Abby Linne (videographer extraordinaire)
-Morelli's Ice Cream (for letting us record and for the delicious ice cream)
-Paige and Mark Schnell (who set up the Grancer party and wrote a line in the song)
-Andy and Ann Sumblin (for sharing their land and home)
-Robert Harrison (for the story and his parents' patience)
-Lujeaner and family (for bringing Grancer's fiddle)
-And all our Seaside friends who came to the party!
Mar 25, 2013
We first heard the ghost tale of Grancer Harrison from our friend Robert Harrison, a great-great-etc grandson of the man himself. Grancer is one of the famous "13 Ghosts of Alabama". Before the Civil War, he threw Saturday night parties every full moon. The whole county would come. He'd put on his dancing clogs and play his fiddle all night long. He always had one request - when he died, he asked that he be buried in those shoes, with his fiddle and in his giant feather bed. His wishes were carried out, and you can see Vanessa standing by his gravesite below. He's rumored to haunt his final resting place.
While in Seaside, Florida, we met the daughter of the man who now owns Grancer's land. It was a strange - and very cool - coincidence. That led us to what's happening this Saturday night. We're throwing a huge party just like Grancer would for this recording (and the full moon is just a day or two off!).
Grancer lost at least four (if not five or six) of his sons in the war. He also lost a grandson. Though we have been unable to discover exactly where his sons died, we know they all died in 1864. This was the year of the Battle of Mobile Bay, a site that includes Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan, and is threatened by erosion and lack of funding.
Cotton's high on a Saturday night
horses race in the moonlight
Grancer's got his dancing shoes
his fiddle and a brand new tune
and the river banks shine like coal
on Nancy's hands are rings of gold
all the county's gathered round
to hear him sing to hear him shout
Oh bury me in my bed in the Alabama clay so red
oh bury me in my bed out by the church at the old homestead
oh bury me in my bed I'll hear them all from the dance hall when I'm dead
Three score since Caroline
since he left his home in the Piedmont pines
he came down about '34
sometime after that Indian war
where the river banks shine like coal
Grancer built his happy home
he played too fast on Dandy Jim
he'd bring it home with a Scottish hymn
James and John went off to war
fought in Mobile in the cavalry corps
William was lost at Fort Gaines
they found his body after a hurricane
those river banks still shine like coal
and thieves still come for Grancer's gold
if you listen to the wind
you might just hear his song again
Mar 24, 2013
Date: March 29, 2013
Location: Edgewood Retail District, Moreland Avenue, Atlanta, GA
Threatened Battlefield: Atlanta (this one is way past threatened, it's gone)
Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's headquarters were in a house on a hill known as Copen Hill (today occupied by the Carter Center). This song is written from his perspective as he ordered the city burned.
We both lived in Atlanta for many years. Its history has been plowed over for new houses, new stores, MARTA lines, power stations, you name it. Much of the Battle of Atlanta land is now beneath Little Five Points, Inman Park, Candler Park, East Atlanta and Reynoldstown. A large portion of the fighting occured beneath what is now the Edgewood Retail District on Moreland Avenue. There's not even a historic marker at this location. We'll be recording there, and asking shoppers if they know what happened some 149 years ago.
Cumberland you hear the sound
of the creek in late July
Degress believed his batteries
could hold the Union line
no more palisades
could hold the wind of change
Burn burn burn til the flames hit the sky
time to burn burn burn you away
burn burn burn to the ground Sherman cried
may the ashes be the dirt upon your grave
John Bell Hood could never stand
on those Western Railroad lines
along Flat Shoals the cannon sounds
like another place and time
and on his horse he rode
cursing the black smoke
The last summer of a long war
might give you what you're praying for
up on Copenhill all the air is clear
Mar 18, 2013
We're getting set up to play for 7th and 8th graders at Bailey Middle School in Austin, Texas. In our middle school presentations, we give a brief overview of the Civil War, talk about how and why battlefields should be preserved and play a few songs. If you'd like to have us at your school, email us.
Thanks to Andrew Druart from Civil War Kids for the invite!
Feb 11, 2013
We're gearing up for more battle site recordings, and excited that filmmaker Abby Linne will be joining us again to make a short film about each song.
March 29 - Atlanta, GA - "Copenhill" taping and a surprise man-on-the-street segment on Moreland Avenue.
March 30 - "Grancer Harrison" taping in Coffee County, Alabama. We're throwing a huge Saturday night party as close to a full moon as we can get, just like Grancer would have wanted. Rumor has it some folks are pulling Grancer's fiddle out of a bank vault as well. Read the story of Grancer, who lost at least four of his sons (possibly five or six) and one grandson in the Civil War.
Battles: Mobile Bay and Fort Gaines, Alabama
October 3-5 - "Rose of Sharon" at Oak Alley Plantation and in Mansfield, Louisiana. We may also be recording a new song called "Jackson Barracks" on-site at the barracks in New Orleans.
Battles: Mansfield, Louisiana
Jan 7, 2013
And behind the scenes...
Dec 26, 2012
Thanks to Jeff Martin and the Associated Press for this story about "An Army Without Music" - it's the lead music story today in papers across the country including the Miami Herald, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Charlotte Observer and the San Francisco Gate.
Update 12/27 - the print story ran today in the Nashville Tennessean, the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, the Montgomery Advertiser, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal , the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and many more.
Dec 17, 2012
Here are some stills from the "Glorieta" video, coming in January!
Oct 7, 2012
Recording up at 7,800 feet at Glorieta Pass was, in one word, amazing. Here's a little behind-the-scenes video.