Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Orphan Brigade: Soundtrack To A Ghost Story

Southern Gothic epitomised. The American Civil War inspires album and documentary.

The American Civil War was a brutal, harsh affair which set brother against brother. It still resonates and haunts modern America as illustrated by the recent controversy over the Confederate flag and its continued use in the Southern states. It still fascinates but is rarely used as subject matter in contemporary roots music. The Orphan Brigade: Soundtrack To A Ghost Story is a suite of songs featured in a documentary about Octagon Hall – a Civil War-era plantation house, reputed to be haunted. Soldiers of the First Kentucky Brigade were stationed nearby, and it's their writings and journals that that have inspired the songs featured in the film and on the accompanying soundtrack album. The musical collective also took their name from the unit's nickname.

The story of the American South is complicated, but the music here will teach you as much as any history book. A project such as this could easily have come across as dry, stilted and worthy but such is the skill of the musicians and writers involved this is not the case. Each song focusses on the personal, human stories that take you into the heart of the subject in a deep and powerful way. The music is mighty fine too, a hugely enjoyable example of Americana, which also displays some European and Celtic roots. It may also contain the finest (and sadly prescient) new Christmas song you'll hear this year, 'We Were Marching On Christmas Day'. Whether you believe in ghosts matters little, but it's difficult to deny how actions and events echo down the years.

Click here for more on The Orphan Brigade.

THE ORPHAN BRIGADE - Soundtrack To A Ghost Story // THE FILM from Neighborhoods Apart Productions on Vimeo.

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