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"Irwinton" -- a new tune on the '35....


dhanners623

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Here's a new tune. A couple of things inspired it. One was a Facebook group whose members were dedicated to writing a new song each week during the summer. Each week they'd be given a prompt to write a song about. I only stumbled across the group when it had two weeks left to go, and the prompt was "soil."

 

Then a week or two ago, Buc shipped over some lyrics to a song he'd written about Sherman's March to the Sea. Buc did a fine job, but it got me to thinking -- Sherman's Savannah Campaign is something I've always wanted to write about. So, inspired by that and the "soil" prompt, I sat down to do some research and write.

 

The song is from the perspective of a poor Georgia cotton farmer who is in the Georgia Militia and not real keen about what he sees. He also realizes that the wealthy planters whose lifestyle he is fighting to uphold really haven't done anything for him.

 

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2iAGuZXMtNE

 

Here are the lyrics:

 

 

Irwinton

© 2017 by David Hanners

 

Sherman left Atlanta with the 1st Alabama Cavalry

Up Decatur Road marching to the sea

Burned railroads, mills and houses, anything they couldn’t eat

Can’t say we’d do different were we not in defeat

 

My farm outside of Irwinton is all that I had

It’s where my thoughts retreated when shot rained overhead

Laid waste to our homes, set cotton gins aflame

Charred souvenirs of Sherman’s Savannah Campaign

 

General Smith said we’d give the Federals their due

We were no match for their Spencers and their Henrys, too

Griswoldville was nothing but a harvest of death

At night young and old alike desert without a breath

 

Atlanta lay in ruins, Savannah fell without a shot

Nobody’s told me yet what this war’s about

Dandies bring the Africans to work their land for free

Those same wealthy men never did a thing for me

 

This soil was my life, it's where you’ll bury me

I would defend it from any enemy

Parlor soldiers get the glory, we just get the gore

Smith can have his damn militia; he’ll not see me anymore

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I really enjoy this part of writing........there's no substitute for digging up the facts when writing of an historical event. It's the details that bring a lyric to life and draws the listener/reader into the story.

 

Yep. Four decades as a newspaper reporter left their mark....

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I have been trying to get this song to play a few times. Didn't get it to work until just now. I like the song a lot. You get a very distinct and personal sound out of your J-35, which suits your melodies very nicely. A great listen!

 

You and Buc should form a duo and go on a tour of all the Civil War museums. Just make sure to dress in time appropriate attire [biggrin]

 

Lars

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I have been trying to get this song to play a few times. Didn't get it to work until just now. I like the song a lot. You get a very distinct and personal sound out of your J-35, which suits your melodies very nicely. A great listen!

 

You and Buc should form a duo and go on a tour of all the Civil War museums. Just make sure to dress in time appropriate attire [biggrin]

 

Lars

 

I'll wear anything if Buc lets me play his 12-fret J-45.... (Except his strings are upside down. And the fire code usually bars two lefties from appearing on the same stage at once.)

 

Seriously, though, thanks for the kind words. And Buc is an inspiration.

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So here's a question.... Do I really need the first verse?

 

I've been playing the song a bit and have started to wonder if the first verse adds anything. The only thing the verse does, as I see it, is introduce us to the thought that the story is about Sherman's March to the Sea. But the second verse does that. Why not just start with the scond verse?

 

Opinions?

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Your song, David, but the first two verses do seem to cover much of the same ground. You know the drill........write, rewrite, write, rewrite.

 

You can say that again....

 

I've decided the song does need some major retooling. For one thing, I stumbled across a master's thesis online with the cumbersome title of "'The latent enmity of Georgia': Sherman's March and its effects on the social division of Georgia." Fascinating reading, actually; I wasn't aware how many Georgians were against secession in the first place, and the number grew as the war went on. The division was usually along social classes. My protagonist would probably not be growing cotton, and would most likely be a tenant farmer or a sharecropper.

 

The key, as always, is to weave the factual details seamlessly into an emotional narrative. Although if I'm to heed the words of wisdom of a contributor to a thread I began that is now locked, I have a "moral obligation" to tell every side of the story....

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You can say that again....

 

I've decided the song does need some major retooling. For one thing, I stumbled across a master's thesis online with the cumbersome title of "'The latent enmity of Georgia': Sherman's March and its effects on the social division of Georgia." Fascinating reading, actually; I wasn't aware how many Georgians were against secession in the first place, and the number grew as the war went on. The division was usually along social classes. My protagonist would probably not be growing cotton, and would most likely be a tenant farmer or a sharecropper.

 

The key, as always, is to weave the factual details seamlessly into an emotional narrative. Although if I'm to heed the words of wisdom of a contributor to a thread I began that is now locked, I have a "moral obligation" to tell every side of the story....

 

I wouldn't let anything read in a guitar forum change or shape your life

You just touched on a sore point at the time

 

Don't let the bastards grind ya down ya know 😄

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You can say that again....

 

I've decided the song does need some major retooling. For one thing, I stumbled across a master's thesis online with the cumbersome title of "'The latent enmity of Georgia': Sherman's March and its effects on the social division of Georgia." Fascinating reading, actually; I wasn't aware how many Georgians were against secession in the first place, and the number grew as the war went on. The division was usually along social classes. My protagonist would probably not be growing cotton, and would most likely be a tenant farmer or a sharecropper.

 

The key, as always, is to weave the factual details seamlessly into an emotional narrative. Although if I'm to heed the words of wisdom of a contributor to a thread I began that is now locked, I have a "moral obligation" to tell every side of the story....

When you really think about telling every side of any story, it's downright laughable. You'd have to write songs the length of novels! Just sayin'.

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When you really think about telling every side of any story, it's downright laughable. You'd have to write songs the length of novels! Just sayin'.

 

Jimmy Webb should've added a verse to "MacArthur Park" to tell the story from the cake's point of view. What did the cake think about getting rained on? We have no idea. Didn't Webb have a moral obligation to tell us? And Webb calls himself a songwriter....

 

Have played around with it a bit (still no chorus) and changed the verses from four lines to six. Also changed the protagonist's home (and song title) from Irwinton to Sandersville. I can guarantee this isn't a final version, but here it is:

 

Sandersville

© 2017 by David Hanners

 

Sherman left Atlanta with the 1st Alabama Cavalry

Up Decatur Road marching to the sea

Two acres outside Sandersville is all that I had

My thoughts retreated there when shot rained overhead

Laid waste to crops, set cribs aflame

Charred souvenirs of Sherman’s Savannah Campaign

 

This soil was my life, it's where you’ll bury me

I would defend it from any enemy

General Smith said we’d give the Federals their due

We were no match for their Spencers and their Henrys, too

Griswoldville was nothing but a harvest of death

At night young and old alike desert without a breath

 

We go hungry but the rich plant more cotton than before

Takes a special kind to profit from this war

We fight so dandies can bring Africans to work their fields for free

Those same wealthy men never did a thing for me

Parlor soldiers get the glory, we just get the gore

Smith can have his damn militia; he’ll not see me anymore

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