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Excellent new CD with original Southern Civil War songs

DreamofaGoodDeath coverClark Hansbarger is Virginia-based singer/songwriter who has recently expanded his repertoire to include fresh material he has written on the Civil War. Told from the perspective of the average Confederate soldier, Dream of a Good Death: New Songs of the Old War, is a series of brilliantly conceived, wonderfully composed and performed original ballads set primarily to guitar and violin music, with an interesting mix of piano, bass, drums, and other instruments as needed. Hansbarger has a rich, evocative voice which neatly transmits the full range emotions in the lyrics he has written.

A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts and A PEN Syndicated Fiction Award winner, Clark’s writing has been featured on National Public Radio’s The Sound of Writing and in magazines such as Shenandoah, Witness, Web del Sol, and The Gettysburg Review.

Hansbarger has an excellent website with the full lyrics to his songs, photographs of the accompanying artists, background historical information on the situation being covered by each song, terrific links and reference material, and ordering information (the CD is only $15). It is interesting to listen to the CD while concurrently reading the lyrics and viewing the graphics.


Clark Hansbarger performs in two Americana bands, but his individual talents are clearly evident in this debut solo CD. His topics span the entire Civil War/War Between the States, and such diverse settings from the coastal area of South Carolina to the Wilderness of Virginia to the Shenandoah Valley and out to Vicksburg.

Arranged chronologically, the songs cover subjects such as a Rebel solder’s fear of dying in the Gettysburg Campaign a thousand miles from home and another man who is forced to shoot his wounded friend as they lay helpless in the burning Wilderness as the flames slowly approach. Other compositions cover the impact of religion on the soldiers before and after the war, the lament of a Vicksburg native fighting to defend his home, a Louisiana Tiger in Jackson’s Valley Campaign of 1862, a soldier rejoicing over feasting on the mountain of food captured from the Yankees at Manassas Junction that summer, surveying the butchery at Cold Harbor in 1864, and abandoning Petersburg and following Master Robert E. Lee down one final road.


My favorite song is about a young Kingsport, Tennessee, wife and mother’s lament that her tailor husband has returned from the war a husk of the man she knew before he enlisted (a gripping song about the effects of post-traumatic stress syndrome, a term not used in the war years). This haunting ballad is perhaps the best song on a CD full of great material. The bittersweet lyrics, combined with Kara Hansbarger’s rich voice as the wife, are simply brilliant.

“Too many battles for one man to face.
Too many years of being away.
Too many hardships and too many days
And not enough water now to wash it away.”

For ordering information, please visit Clark’s website. He does accept PayPal for the convenience of the purchaser.


This and that around historic York County, PA:

* York County Parks will soon be issuing a new booklet entitled “The Northern Central Railway in the Civil War.” Written by Cannonball blogger Scott Mingus, this is a sweeping overview of this important Union supply line and lifeline of the local economy of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. It will be for sale at the Hanover Junction Historic Museum and other offices/facilities of the York County Parks, as well as by mail or in person from the author.

* The York County Heritage Trust’s Civil War 150th Anniversary exhibition, The Fiery Trial: York County’s Civil War Experience, continues throughout the summer and autumn at the Historical Society Museum, 250 E. Market Street, York PA. For more information, please visit their website.

* Steam into History has a diverse range of special Civil War-themed steam trains coming up. All excursion trains leave from their depot and gift shop at 2 W. Main Street in New Freedom, PA, not far from I-83.  Click here for their website. Their phone number is 717-942-2370.

* The York Civil War Round Table meets at the Historical Society Museum at 7:00 p.m. on the third Wednesday each month except December. Upcoming speakers include the humorous and always entertaining Charlie Fennell, a long-time Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide.

* Work continues to develop an Underground Railroad museum for York County at the William Goodridge house at 123 E. Philadelphia Street in York.

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* Author/lecturer Scott L. Mingus, Sr. will be selling and signing his Civil War books at the following venues in September:

September 2 – Bucks County Civil War Round Table, Municipal Building, 5 W. Court Street, Doylestown, PA, 7:00 p.m.

September 10 – Lynchburg Civil War Round Table, The Hill City House Restaurant, 7001 Timberlake Road, Lynchburg, Virginia, 7:00 p.m.

September 20 – Freedom Festival, New Freedom PA, at the train depot in the morning and then at the museum in the afternoon.

September 27 – Wrightsville Museum Day, Locust Street in Wrightsville, 9 :00 a.m. – noon

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