x2011 The 1861 Project

Past Meets Present

The 1861 Project observes the the sesquicentennial of the American Civil war with a unique and compelling collection of original songs that imagine the stories of the real people who fought and lived through that historic conflict. With the original music providing a catalyst, the project hopes to stimulate online discussion of what the Civil War means to us today.

Think of it as “music introduces Facebook to Ken Burns.”

Millions of Americans have personal connections to the War Between The States: ancestors who fought for either side (sometimes both sides), families who were displaced by the carnage, forebears who were freed from the bonds of slavery. Attics and bookshelves around the country filled with photographs, letters, and artifacts that connect modern Americans to the conflict that tore the country apart a century and a half ago.

Yet, most reflection on the war comes from noted historians, documentarians and academics who focus on the epic arc of the war – the monumental battles, the larger-than-life military figures, the historic political struggle that redefined liberty.

The 1861 Project will bring the story of the war back from the mythic to the human.

In addition to offering up a collection of original songs, The 1861 Project will provide a place on the web where people can share their personal connections to the Civil War, and by so doing engage in an ongoing exploration of what a war that started 150 years ago means to Americans living today.

The songs have been written by some of Nashville’s top songwriters and will be performed by a carefully blended selection of marquee recording artists, veteran troubadours and rising new talents.

By recreating the stories of ordinary people who actually fought and endured the Civil War, the 1861 Project seeks to leverage the technology of the networked world to reclaim the legacy of the war and find contemporary meaning in the issues that divided the nation in 1861.

view The 1861 Project video:

Listen to the first three songs from The 1861 Project:

Visit the 1861 Project Website