Ready for Launch: The 1861 Project

Past Meets Present in The 1861 Project

I have always been fascinated with American History. It was one of the few classes I actually paid attention to in high school. Over the past decade, I have spent an inordinate amount of time studying early American history, mostly by listening to podcasts of The Thomas Jefferson Hour. I am just intrigued by that whole period, and the improbable convergence of forces and remarkable people who made it possible to create a new nation out an idea.

It’s amazing to how much the Founders got right. But given the tenor of their times, there was plenty they got wrong, too.

This year, we begin observing the 150th anniversary of the brutal conflict that set about to correct the most egregious of all the mistakes that were included in the nation’s founding.

And I am very excited to be involved in a project that somehow manages to fuse my equal interests in Americana/acoustic music and American history.

The 1861 Project was initiated by songwriter, guitarist and producer Thomm Jutz, who I met last year after he’d produced Dana Cooper’s CD, The Conjurer. Thomm has assembled an outstanding cast of songwriters, singers and musicians, and has written and recorded nearly two dozen songs that imagine the stories of the real people who fought and lived through the American Civil War. With the original music providing a catalyst, the project hopes to stimulate online discussion of what that long-ago conflict means to us today.

Hoping to take advantage of the Internet and social media networks that were not around when the centennial was observed (egads… fifty years ago!) we’re billing this as “Facebook meets Ken Burns.”

Visit The 1861 Project website and listen to some of the tunes, and follow the links to Facebook and Twitter.