The talented duo of Mark Johnson & Emory Lester have released a new project called 1863. It is their contribution to the commemoration of the music of Civil War era America during this, the sesquicentennial of the fierce fighting that occurred that year.
When they perform live, the show is Mark on banjo, playing in his unique “clawgrass” style, and Emory on mandolin or guitar. Here, however, they go for a band sound on several tracks, with Lester providing guitar, mandolin, fiddle and bass with Johnson’s five string.
This is not meant as a preservationist piece, recreating something that had existed once before. Mark says that they meant it as a remembrance of the music that would have been played by soldiers on either side, and by both rural and urban families throughout the Union and Confederate portions of the US as it existed in that era.
“We tried to capture the passion of that music from that time, in the style that Emory and I play our music today.
Most of the songs should be familiar to anyone with a fondness for old time fiddle tunes, including:
- Chinquapin Hunting
- Waiting For The Federals
- Angeline The Baker
- Blockage Runner At Cedar Key
- Hard Times
- Mosby’s Raiders
- Fisher’s Hornpipe
- Marching Through Georgia
- Soldier’s Joy
- Angel Band
Though several of these tunes have lyrics, they are presented here as instrumentals. Listening now to them again, you are reminded anew of the fact that the foot soldiers in this bloody conflict shared much of the the same culture, especially in the regions close to the Mason Dixon line.
1863 is available now from popular download sites and CD resellers, or from Mark and Emory’s web site.