Band re­leases new al­bum inspired by US Civil War

The China Post - - ARTS - BY JEFF MARTIN

Granville Au­to­matic, a band with roots in At­lanta, is re­leas­ing its col­lec­tion of songs inspired by Civil War bat­tles, part of a re­lated pro­ject to film videos of the songs on bat­tle­fields in the U.S.

The al­bum re­leased this week­end, “An Army With­out Mu­sic,” in­cludes songs about sol­diers, horses and ghosts in sev­eral south­ern states.

The band has filmed videos of the songs in the places that inspired them, and has plans to shoot more videos in Ten­nessee, Ken­tucky and Vir­ginia.

Ev­ery sec­ond of bat­tle in the Amer­i­can Civil War was filled with sto­ries, many of which have gone un­told, band mem­ber El­iz­a­beth Elkins said.

The band’s goal is to cap­ture the im­mense emo­tional and hu­man im­prints the war left not only on sol­diers, but their loved ones, she said. “Lanterns at Horse­shoe Ridge,” for in­stance, re­counts the night when moth­ers and daugh­ters of sol­diers used lanterns to search for their dead or dy­ing loved ones near Chat­tanooga, Ten­nessee, in 1863.

Many of the songs were inspired years ago, when Elkins and Granville Au­to­matic vo­cal­ist Vanessa Oli­varez lived in metro At­lanta. Elkins re­calls driv­ing down At­lanta’s More­land Av­enue, across bat­tle­fields now cov­ered by streets and stores, and hop­ing the sto­ries of the Civil War were not lost to history.

“We’re paving over a tragedy and we’re not remembering it,” Elkins said in a re­cent phone in­ter­view.

Mu­sic, she said, is one way the sto­ries of the war can be told and re-told, even if many of the bat­tle­fields in At­lanta, Nashville and other cities are now buried by neigh­bor­hoods and busi­ness dis­tricts.

“Their whole prin­ci­ple is about writ­ing mu­sic about things that are dis­ap­pear­ing,” said Robert Har­ri­son of Smyrna, Ge­or­gia, whose an­ces­tor Grancer Har­ri­son is the sub­ject of one of the songs on the new al­bum.

“The land­scape changes, other con­nec­tions to the past dis­ap­pear with de­vel­op­ment,” Har­ri­son said.

The band’s song “Grancer Har­ri­son” is set in south­ern Alabama, the fi­nal rest­ing place for Har­ri­son, one of the “13 ghosts of Alabama.” Har­ri­son, who lost sev­eral sons in the Civil War, was known for throw­ing huge par­ties ev­ery full moon. He asked to be buried with the danc­ing shoes he wore and the fid­dle he played dur­ing those par­ties.

“They did so much re­search on the story, and they were so de­tailed about it,” Robert Har­ri­son said. “They found out a lot of de­tails that even our fam­ily didn’t know.”

In 2013, the band filmed a video to go with the song at Grancer Har­ri­son’s grave in Cof­fee County, Alabama.

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