THE OLD ROAD
Janice and I have a long standing love of local Civil War history and have spent several decades researching the exact march route that Gen. Sherman’s several corps took through our area on the “March to The Sea.” One of his corp commander’s headquarters was just across from our property.
Most of the folklore and even many of the historical markers are simply wrong regarding the routes. I’m fond of saying that if Sherman had actually camped on every site that family stories indicate then he would still be on his way to the coast! What we have found from reading march diaries, daily journals and hours of walking through woods with metal detectors is that frequently the roads used on the march are no longer in use and, often, are unknown -- even to locals. Many, many times we have discovered that the actual road is as much as a mile from its modern counterpart and will have very mature timber growing in the bed. Most of these routes were abandoned when motorized traffic began as they were too deeply worn and eroded to sustain.
We wrote this tune to reflect on the years we spent on these searches and to attempt to express the feelings that one gets when walking these forgotten roads and reflecting on the families that lived out their lives along the way. FWIW, I certainly do not romanticize the Civil War and am grateful that a man of President Lincoln’s convictions and determination was at the right place at the right time in history to reunite all Americans. I think the song and video “Dear Mama” that we did a while back best expresses our feelings about the tragedy of the Civil War and the 650,000 lost lives.
Thanks for listening and pardon the historical ramble!
Guitar # 376 Country
Bass # 538 Pop
Banjo (half time): composite of several # 591 Bluegrass tracks
Fiddle (half time): composite of several # 596 Bluegrass tracks
Mandolin: # 616 Country
Vocals: Rodes NT1 interfaced with iMac via Blue Icicle
Mixing and effects: GarageBand
The Old Road
There was an old deep cut road
that wound around Prospect Mountain
Long since abandoned and forgotten,
the bed lay covered up with jasmine
But that old road saw it all
from settlers’ hopes to Sherman’s horrors
And for years when the wind blew
you might hear the jangle of the spurs
Battles left only chimneys to
mark the sites of old homes
Iron fences stand all around family graves
and white iris’ bloom beneath the headstones
Now the road is filled with trash
from all of the houses nearby
And one more memory fades away
from a time thought to never die