I had a chance to see Bobby Horton yesterday at the Folk Festival in Leeds, Alabama. He's either a musician/historian, or an historian/musician, mostly civil war era, but not exclusively. He did the soundtrack for Ken Burns' new PBS documentary on National Parks that airs beginning Sunday.
For about an hour and a half, he played music and told stories about the civil war. It was totally enjoyable, kind of like reading an historical novel, so I learned some things too. Like over 4,000 songs were written and published between 1861-1865, from both sides. Many songs, such as Dixie, had several versions. BTW, Dixie was written by a northerner from Ohio, but it was not that original version that was sung by confederate soldiers.
According to his website, Horton is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, and music historian. He has performed with the musical- comedy trio, Three On A String, throughout the United States and Canada for 35 plus years. He has also produced and performed music scores for ten PBS films by Ken Burns including “The Civil War, and “Baseball,” two films for The A&E network, and sixteen films for The National Park Service. His series of recordings of authentic period music has been acclaimed by historical organization and publications through America and Europe.
As a damn yankee living in the south, I truly appreciate the unbiased historical references.
As an artist, I love his attention to detail; much of his music is played on authentic period instruments, and he takes great care to research the presentation of each piece, playing it as it would have been sung at the time.
Tomorrow it is back to cakes.