Chris Jones & the Night Drivers have released a first single from Live At The Old Feed Store, their self-produced concert CD recorded during the summer of 2013.
Battle Of The Bands is a deadly serious song about a Civil War battle that took place over New Years between 1862 and ’63 near Murphreesboro, TN. Like so many of these battles, each side remembered it with a different name: to the southerners, it was the Battle of Murphreesboro, while the victorious northern army recalled it as the Stone’s River Battle.
Written by Thomm Jutz, Charley Stefl, and Jon Weisberger for The 1861 Project, a 2011 project released to mark the sesquicentennial of the war’s start, it tells of a pair of army bands who would rather have been celebrating the new year with family, playing tunes into the night.
Weisberger shares how the story unfolded…
“During the Civil War, a lot of the military formations had their own bands – sometimes, but not always small ones – that would play stirring marches and other kinds of battle music. Here, two opposing armies were camped close enough to one another that they could hear each others’ bands; they started out by trying to outplay one another with their different state songs, etc., but as Chris says sometimes when he introduces it, being musicians, they couldn’t help but wind up getting into a jam session instead.
That’s the story Thomm brought to the table, and when you’re trying to write a song and you get hold of a good story, sometimes the best thing you can do is stay out of the way as much as you can and let it tell itself, so that’s what we did.”
Jutz had the idea for Chris Jones to sing Battle Of The Bands on the 1861 album, and after that was released, Chris worked it up with the Night Drivers for their live show. It was an immediate hit with fans, making it a no-brainer to include on this live project.
We know Jon Weisberger as the bass player with Jones’ band, as the Chair of the IBMA’s Board of Directors, and as a noted songwriter, but what about his co-writers on this song?
“Thomm’s red-hot these days as a producer and sideman – among other things, he co-produced the new Mac Wiseman album – and Charley’s name should be familiar to bluegrassers, especially as co-writer of Del McCoury’s All Aboard, with other cuts by Del, the Grascals, et.al.”
Battle Of The Bands was premiered last week on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction, and is now available to radio programmers at Airplay Direct.
Live At The Old Feed Store is set to release on October 7.