The year 2013 marks the mid-point of the American Civil War’s sesquicentennial commemoration and the twenty-fifth season the 2nd South Carolina String Band has taken the field. The principal focus of this 150th anniversary is to educate the current generation as to the significance of the conflict and memorialize the participants and historical events of the War Between the States. The 2nd South Carolina String Band has endeavored over the years to recreate and, by doing so, preserve the popular music performed in camp by the soldiers as they would have remembered it. We play the songs that were in the hearts and minds and on the tongues of the citizen-soldiers that made up the ranks of the Northern and Southern armies. It is our hope that the revival of their musical heritage will also help perpetuate the memory of those gallant Americans and their sacrifice.
In the beginning, as riflemen in the reenactment unit known as Company I, 2nd South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, we played only at night around our company camp fire. Soon we were performing for reenactment dances and concert audiences. Over the decades our repertoire, musicianship, sense of historical accuracy and presentation has grown and matured. Our reputation flourished and we have been fortunate to contribute period music to a number of films and documentaries. Included in this group was work for the History Channel, three Ken Burn’s PBS mini-series, the British travel show “Globe Trekker,” and Ron Maxwell’s Warner Brothers film “Gods and Generals,” where we gave a rousing on-screen performance. At a benefit concert at Gordon College in 2004 we were awarded the prestigious Stephen C. Foster Award in recognition of our contributions to the preservation of 19th century American arts and culture. Today we are able to look back fondly on countless performances from Mississippi to South Carolina, and from Missouri to New Hampshire.
The 2nd South Carolina String Band’s music has literally spread around the globe by way of the internet, radio, television and movie air time. We have been featured in periodicals as diverse as local and regional newspapers, USA Today, Skirmish Magazine, People Magazine, and U.S. News & World Report. Our music’s exposure on the powerful Amazon.com and CD Baby web distribution outlets, as well that of YouTube has greatly helped enhance our reputation. All five of our previous recordings have been listed in the Top 30 selections on Amazon’s Civil war Music page for the past five years and running. Our fans have listed over one hundred posts on YouTube and there have been over one million five hundred thousand views. The band is proud to be able to claim fans and supporters from virtually every country in western and eastern Europe including Russia, in addition to the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, China and more.
We have been very fortunate, over a span of twenty-two years, to have had but one producer for all six of our albums. Our banjo player’s son, Erik is an important, if off-stage member of our ensemble. His personal familiarity with each member and the band’s natural, live sound gives consistency to our recordings. The quality of his contributions to our music can be judged – quite literally seen and heard - through his work at Ken Burns’ Florentine Films where he has won two Emmys for film and sound editing. Erik’s artistic instincts and keen ear have been key to capturing the same unique spirit and energy in the studio that is the hallmark of the band’s live performances.
The 2nd South Carolina String Band’s success has also been profoundly influenced and encouraged by our steadfast fans and devoted supporters. As performers we can not help but be moved by and caught up in the often intense emotional exchange between the band and the enthusiasm of our audience. Our loyal and often loudly appreciative listeners have helped to drive our music to new levels. We feel genuinely blessed by the kind words and support we’ve received from our many fans over the years.
But most importantly of all, we recognize and extend our deepest gratitude to our families and especially our wives, who have stood by us (often quite literally) and supported our twenty-five year musical adventure. Their patience, counsel and understanding have been indispensable to our longevity and success. Truly, without their continued love and support coupled with that of our dedicated fans, this amazing journey would have concluded long ago. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you all.
God Bless and Strike the Tent!