From the Liner Notes:
Essay by Sean Wilentz
ONE AMERICA DIED IN THE CIVIL WAR, and another America, testily united, arose in its place. Crushing secession and destroying slavery—what Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg called “a new birth of freedom”—vindicated the bonds of Union and forever banished the ancient doctrine than one man could hold another as his property.
Sean Wilentz is the Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor of History at Princeton University. He is the author of The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln and Bob Dylan in America, among other works.
Essay by John Cohen
IMAGINE IF WE COULD HEAR ALL THESE SONGS and magical tunes in the way they were heard in Civil War times: Instead of battle war cries, anthems, hymns, and rousing patriotic marches played by brass bands, we would be listening in parlors, in minstrel shows, and in tent encampments on both sides of the battle lines where weary soldiers from the North and the South are singing of the lost love of “Lorena” to fill the empty hearts of families and lovers whose dear ones have perished in the war.
John Cohen is a musicologist, photographer and filmmaker. He is a founding member of The New Lost City Ramblers, whose sound recordings have received several Grammy nominations, influencing many musicians including Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, and Ry Cooder, as well as shaping the old time fiddle music revival.
32 fresh interpretations of Civil War songs from a collection of artists who span genres and generations.
ATO Records and music supervisor Randall Poster ('Moonrise Kingdom,' 'Boardwalk Empire,' 'Rave on Buddy Holly') have joined forces to release 'Divided & United,' a two-disc set of Civil War songs brought to life through fresh interpretations by the pioneers, Hall of Famers and rising young stars of country, bluegrass, folk and beyond. The collection celebrates music deeply vital to the history and spirit of America in tribute to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Each song offers a unique window on the past, with themes exploring race, identity and reconciliation in a manner that echoes profoundly today.
The tremendous talents on 'Divided & United' span several generations and genres. Combined they have won close to 200 GRAMMY Awards, numerous Country Music Awards and include Rock And Roll Hall of Famers, Country Music Hall of Famers and Bluegrass Hall of Famers.
The songs represent hope and loss, camaraderie and compassion, and the distinct voices of the North and South; born out of the specific battles and turning points, sentimental, parlor songs and spirituals of the period, songs that soldiers brought into battle with them, abolition and minstrel songs, and more.