"Marvelous voice and songwriting! Your phrasing is terrific and some of your songs are really haunting. Great stuff!"
- Jeff Shaara, author of "GODS AND GENERALS"
Marking the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, this CD of 17 original songs features a 28 page, full-color booklet with stories, lyrics, photos and historical documents, including never before published, hand written Henry Kyd Douglas letters and poetry.
(The songs are available online, the booklet is available in hard copy only with purchase of the CD)
Singer songwriter, Jennie Avila, is a nationally touring performing artist living in the Antietam Battlefield region of Maryland. Working closely with historians and descendants of the American Civil War, she collected intimate true stories that she was able to get her hands on and her heart around. These songs are woven from the tales of everyday people who found themselves in the extraordinary circumstances of the Civil War: blue & gray, black & white, men & women, young & old... and of course a horse!
What people are saying ~
"These songs have Regional and National importance" - John Frye, John Clinton Frye Room, Western Maryland Collection
"It's terrific!" - Gene Shay, Host of WXPN's Folk Show (50 years) & Folk DJ of The Year in 2007
"Jennie's amazing voice is captivating. She tells the stories beautifully!" - Douglas Bast - Owner/Director of the Boonsborough Museum of History
" …a stunning CD…well balanced, too, in terms of Southern vs. Northern concerns." - Eileen Joyner, Client Advisor
Oasis Disc Manufacturing
"Thank you so much for this outstanding gift. LOVE it more than I have words - Ann Mayo Muir, International Folk Music Icon
"I am enjoying your Civil War Stories CD. IT IS FANTASTIC! I was amazed by the wide variety of lyrics and instrumentals! Some very haunting...every time I listen to the song "Sultana," the melody stays with me for days. Congratulations on a powerful, very professional finished product." - Vicky Parkin, Kickstarter Backer of this CD
"Really spot on!" Edie Wallace, President of Friends of Tolson's Chapel
"You captured the stories in your songs as if you were able to see 150 years ago" - Russell Richards, Historical Entertainment, LLC
List of songs and their short descriptions ~
1. To Clara Barton – Letters written to Col. Tufts of the Soldiers Relief Committee reveal the humble supplies donated to Clara Barton for the enormous task of tending thousands of wounded soldiers.
2. Antietam Luminary – 23,000 candles are lit annually in the Antietam Battlefields to honor the soldiers who were wounded, lost, or killed in just one day of conflict. Jennie will sing this song with Hot Soup at the powerful Antietam Luminary event on December 1, 2012 .
3. A Bullet Lives On – Spent bullets were plentiful, so soldiers carved them into toys, tools and totems.
4. Would a Lady Tell a Lie? – Young Maria Kretzer defied Confederate orders to surrender her family’s grand Union Flag when the rebels occupied Sharpsburg after the Battle of South Mountain.
5. Tolson’s Chapel – Hillary Watson’s tombstone stands in the graveyard of Tolson’s Chapel in Sharpsburg, MD, which was built by emancipated slaves. It is currently being restored.
6. Bushwhackers and Bushongs – A young man escaped involuntary conscription. His granddaughter, Adelaide, told the story to Jennie. (Named after her grandmother)
7. Unlock the Rose – A slave punishment collar with iron thorns borne too long would cause severe infection. Archival news articles report that a master was found guilty and fined for this cruelty.
8. Pass to Cross – A slave, Thomas Laws, and a schoolteacher, Rebecca Wright, became Union spies for a day.
9. Warrior Spirit and The Keeper of The Bones – A battlefield ghost story.
10. Love Beyond the Grave – This Blue and Gray “Romeo and Juliet” love story was inspired by a memorial written by Confederate Henry Kyd Douglas for Annie Washington of Hagerstown, MD.
11. Breakfast at The Heck’s – Little sister Sally recalled when her two brothers, fighting on opposite sides, simultaneously arrived at their mother’s kitchen in Boonsboro, MD for breakfast after the Battle of South Mountain.
12. Prince, My Favorite Horse – Henry Kyd Douglas wrote this poem when he received news of the death of his childhood horse while he was a prisoner of war in Johnson’s Island Union Camp in the winter of 1863. Jennie set the poem to music.
13. Relic Post – Union Private Samuel Wright’s souvenir relic post and Bloody Layne heroics are contrasted with Jacob Miller’s trials as a Confederate farmer whose fences and crops were victims of the Battle of Antietam.
14. Sultana – An overloaded steamboat sank while attempting to ferry soldiers home after the war. (Officially the worst maritime disaster in US history) The ship tells the tale.
15. Mary Vance’s Scrapbook – A Union soldier sent all of the souvenirs in this song to Miss Vance who preserved them, including a baby’s lock of hair given to him by a dying Confederate soldier.
16. Orphan Train – The war created many thousands of orphans who were shipped out west for adoption, often to be treated as slaves.
17. Beautiful and Blessed – The Washington County Home for Orphan and Friendless Children rescued poverty stricken children with an innovative program of care and education. Anna McCarty was their beloved matron.
All songs © Jennie Avila
Produced by Jennie Avila, Cool Acoustic Music
Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Todd Stotler
at Echoes Recording Studio, Sharpsburg, MD ~
located in the Nicodemus Farm which served as a
field hospital during the Civil War
Original recordings of Jennie’s vocal and guitar on:
Tracks 3 and 11- by Dennis Mickley, Hagerstown, MD
Track 9 - by Dennis Cook, Creative Engineering Studios, Laurel, MD
Graphic Design & Disc Photo: Christina Muir
Booklet Cover & Tray Card Photos: Audra Haddock Martenot
(Jennie is leaning on a desk made from the scaffolding
that hung abolitionist, John Brown.)
Additional photos by Christina Muir, Audra Haddock Martenot,
Charissa Beeler Hipp, and Jennie Avila ~ j.a.
Musicians and instruments ~
Jennie Avila - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Ubang, Shakers, Kokirikko
Jay Ansill - Violins and Mandolin
Steve Wright - Ubang
Ralph Gordon - Upright Bass
Christina Muir - Mountain Dulcimer, Guitar, Harmony Vocal (Hot Soup!)
Sue Trainor - Harmony Vocal (Hot Soup!)
John Turner - Resophonic, 12 String and 6 String Guitars
Anne Hills - Banjo
Terry Tucker - Auto Harp
Robbie Caruthers - Fiddle
Paul Mackerel - Banjo
Asbury Methodist Church of Hagerstown Gospel Choir - Harmony Vocals