2nd South Carolina String Band

Southern Soldier by the 2nd South Carolina String Band
The 2nd South Carolina String Band play music from the American Civil war era. The founding members, Joe Ewers, Fred Ewers, John Frayler, Dave Goss and Bob Beeman originally formed the group in the summer of 1989. Appropriately enough they met while participating in a civil war reenactment. What makes their meeting particularly appropriate is that such situations often brought musicians together during the Civil War. So from their first meet the band members had a common interest they were passionate about and knowing that, it doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to know what kind of music they’d want to focus on, rock you say? nope, jazz? nope, Spice Girls covers? not at all. It’s been 1860s era music for these boys from square one.

Now you may be saying to yourself, “great! a band playing civil war tunes, I’ve only heard of that hundred times before” but how The 2nd South Carolina String Band sets themselves apart is their attention to detail. They use the “real” instruments of the day, not just fiddles, guitars and banjos but also drums and flutes, you just don’t hear too many flutes and drums in this kind of music these days. The result of this affluent instrument set is a more complete sound. Off the cusp if someone told me they played Dixie with drums accompaniment I wouldn’t’ think much of it but to hear the 2nd’s renditions of these classic tunes is extremely fresh and new. Another element that they offer that is often overlooked, accurate lyrical content. Many of the tunes of the civil war era have had their lyrics altered or more often the songs are mostly played as instrumentals these days. The 2nd plays these songs with the same vigor found with the soldiers back in the day. To hear them signing about how many yanks they’d like to kill is spectacular, and I’m a yank!

Even though The 2nd South Carolina String Band was formed in 1989 it would be nearly ten years before the first of their five official albums were released. The albums actually can be tricky to get a hold of. I’ve managed to get two of them so far and both of them are fantastic. Not a bad song in the bunch and both albums are about twenty songs long. S Imply put this is civil war music with a level of detail that’s hard to find. While it may not be the same thing as sitting beside a Pennsylvania campfire back in 1865 it’s just about as close as you’re gonna get.

1) Southern Soldier [1997]
2) Hard Road [2001]
3) In High Cotton [2002]
4) Dulcem Melodies [2006]
5) Lightning in a Jar [2008] *live

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