Nashville’s Roots Musicians Set Music to New Civil War Stories

The 1861 Project, Vol. 1: From Farmers To Foot Soldiers
Various Artists

The 1861 Project, Vol. 1: From Farmers To Foot Soldiers

The The 1861 Project, Vol. 1: From Farmers To Foot Soldiers celebrates the 235th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. The album also commemorates the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War that tore the nation apart. Some of Nashville’s finest songwriters and musicians collaborated to produce this collection of new, original songs inspired by the stories of the real people who fought and lived through the U.S. Civil War.

The recording features southern roots music, including bluegrass, country and folk music. The vocalists include well known names in the Nashville scene, country legend John Anderson, Grand Ole Opry star Marty Stuart, Americana singer Dana Cooper, rising Bluegrass star Chris Jones, and others.

Brought together by their interest in the Civil War and their shared belief in the inspirational and restorative power of music, Jutz, Cronin, and Schatzkin were attracted to the stories of everyday people who experienced the war. The 1861 Project pushes beyond the broad strokes of Civil War history with emotional songs. “I Have” tells of a man counting his fallen friends as he walks the hundreds of barefoot miles home from the surrender at Appomattox. Another song, “Eyes,” relates the story of an Irish immigrant, one of many drafted into Union service from their new home in New York City, while the “Gospel Train” is sung in the voice of a runaway slave “riding” the Underground Railroad to freedom.

is by an all-star ensemble of country and bluegrass musicians.

This project seeks to bring change via affirmation, not defamation,” Schatzkin explains. “Though the Civil War was won by the North, the inequality at the heart of the fight remains an issue that continues to be worked out in American society. This music is our way of contributing to that effort.”

We love our country, but not in a ‘my country right or wrong’ way,” Schatzkin says. “In the song ‘Ridin’ Like a Rebel,’ the lyrics state ‘One thing can not be denied, brave men fought on either side.’ We’re presenting the Civil War story in a non-partisan manner, in the hope of initiating a sincere discussion about what the Civil War means in American society today.”

The 1861 Project, Vol. 1: From Farmers To Foot Soldiers is a dramatic album by some of Nashville’s finest country and bluegrass musicians.

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