Seven score and six years ago today (11/19/63), President Lincoln made his famous speech at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, four months after the Civil War's most pivotal battle. Similar to his Address, these songs comment on the universal themes and lessons to be found in this horrid period of American history by focusing on the personal loyalties and sacrifices involved in the greater epic.
'The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.' [full text in the comments below]
1) 'Wooden Ships' tells the story of a Union and Confederate soldier who run into each other, seemingly after both had been separated from, or deserted, their respective armies. Connecting on a personal level, they are able to smile and share berries because, no matter what the color of their coat, they recognize something more basic that ties them together - humanity.
2) 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' is sung by Virgil Cain, a Confederate veteran. Back at home in Tennessee after the war, he does not mourn the South's loss but rather the lives lost, including his brother's.
3) 'Atlanta's Burning Down' is also told from the perspective of a Southern soldier, but the song is about a protagonist who leaves the service in order to get home and save a loved one in Georgia, which was then being ravaged during General Sherman's March to the Sea.
4) 'Civil War' is hardly about the Civil War...it's about the warring factions that exist in every one of us.
5) From this concert's summary: 'The Georgia Sea Islands represent a fascinating chapter during American history, specifically during the Civil War, and to fully appreciate the cultural heritage of Jones and the group, an understanding of this strategic location goes a long way. Prior to the Civil War, the Georgia Sea Islands consisted of large plantations. Early on in the Civil War, the Union seized the islands so that they could blockade food and supply shipments to the rebelling