Charm City in Civilization VI

civ6Civilization VI, the recently-released video game from Firaxis and 2K Games, contains a special treat for fans of bluegrass and old time music. Patrick McAvinue and Brad Kolodner from Charm City Junction were tapped to provide some of the music in the game’s score.

The company that produces the game is also located in the Baltimore area, and composer Geoff Knorr reached out to Brad and Patrick for inclusion on the soundtrack. Though much of the score is carefully arranged, Geoff gave these two free reign to record their sections in an authentic folk and old time style on the Stephen Foster classic, Hard Times.

Their main contribution appears with the All American screen in the game, which features turn-based, strategy gameplay where the goal is to build a civilization from the ground up over time.

Patrick tells us that recording this music felt pretty much like the way they normally work.

pat_brad“Brad and I just played in the same way we would live. There was very little to no coaching from Geoff. We both played the tune by ourselves (solo) slowly, in a rubato fashion. Then, we recorded it together in a rubato fashion. And lastly for the Medieval Era, we increased the tempo and played it like an old-time tune. They layered a few more instruments from the orchestra for that section as well.

We also recorded a few other tunes, Sally in the Garden and Arkansas Traveller that are also used during the gameplay.”

You can hear their versions of Hard Times, among the most evocative melodies in all of American music, in this static video from the game.


Civilization VI is available wherever computer and video games are sold.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.