by Jewly Hight
A century and a half later, the Civil War still wields power of mythical proportions. We have our share of battlefields and costumed reenactments in these parts, so it’s hardly surprising that a local abundance of history — not to mention songwriting — might yield an album like The 1861 Project.
It’s a set of 17 songs — co-written by a small army of writers, including Thomm Jutz (who produced the entire batch), Charley Stefl, Irene Kelley and Scene-contributor Jon Weisberger — that tell stories of the war’s impact from more intimate vantage points. The singers change from track to track — John Anderson here, Marty Stuart, Chris Jones or Dana Cooper there. But the backing band — often featuring Dan Tyminski’s fiddler Justin Moses and Ricky Skaggs’ bassist Mark Fain — gives the whole thing a refined folk and bluegrass treatment. And a bunch of those folks, plus Paul Schatzkin serving as narrator, will be part of this live show.