Friday, December 19, 2008

Civil War music (anachronistically)

Marisa recently introduced me to a band called The Decemberists and we got tickets to a concert at the newly renovated Wellmont Theatre in Montclair.

So, of course, the concert rocked, and ever since then, I've been on a Decemberists kick.

M had told me before the concert that all of their songs tell a story, such as the legend of the crane wife.

How excited was I to discover they have a Civil War song?

And if perhaps - the son of an English professor, after all - I prefer the "Romeo & Juliet"-esque stylings of "O Valencia!," I nonetheless think "Yankee Bayonet (I will be home then)" is probably my favorite just because of the story.

Have you hit "play" on the video above? Catch the lyrics, then keep reading...

So the song tells the story of a widow of the Confederacy, who true love lies "far from the hills of the sea-swept Carolinas."

It always makes me think of Dorsey Pender, whose near-daily letters to his devout wife were one of the great love stories of the war - before they abruptly ended, far indeed from his North Carolina home.

Other Decemberists songs I recommend heartily include "Shanty for the Arethusa" and "The Mariner's Revenge Song."

Eh, I can't resist. Here's "O Valencia!"