Gordon Thomas Ward

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Welcome to the Past

Southern Man

Talent

Gordon Thomas Ward on lead and harmony vocals, 6-string jumbo guitar, 12-string jumbo guitar, and percussion.  Eric Troyer added the bass. My friends Jim Kurzenberger (five-string banjo) and Dave Shapiro (National steel slide guitar) contributed much to the feel of this song.

Background & Inspiration
This is my Civil War anthem. Truth be told, I wrote this song when I was sixteen. I was in a rock band at the time called Whipsaw. It was a balls-to-the-wall, hard-hitting, power chord rock song with drums, electric guitars, and bass. Audiences liked the song at the time. Thirty-eight years later, I decided to rewrite the song, make it acoustic, add a couple more verses, change the chorus section of the verses a bit, and add a repeating bridge. I wanted to create the ambiance of a handful of guys playing instruments on a porch of a backwoods farmhouse. When it came time to record, I knew Jim from high school and Eric introduced me to Dave. The combination ended up being exactly the sound I was hearing in my head. Eric added the bass drum to fit the rhythm I had in mind, one that also, with a little imagination, doubles as cannon fire. The chains were added by me for percussion and to represent the issue of slavery during the Civil War. I borrowed the chains from the entrance to a church cemetery. The verses of the song switch back and forth – north talking to south and south to north. In the end, the hope is that we will stand as one in peace, having learned the lessons of this conflict which claimed the lives of 750,000 Americans. See if you can find the quoted phrase from Abraham Lincoln in the lyrics.

Lyrics

Blue and grey divided,

April 1861.

Blue and grey divided,

Bleed collectively as one.

Northern Yankee or Southern man,

Brother to brother take their stand.

 

Are you proud now, Virginia,

Of your cotton legacy?

Are you proud now, Virginia,

Of your confederacy?

Go back home, southern man.

You’re on your own now, southern man.

 

(Bridge) Slave and freedman, black and white,

A rich man's war and a poor man's fight.

The better angels of our nature guide our sight.

Lead us to the light.

 

Don’t you tell us, Mr. Lincoln,
To change our way of life.
Mind the Union, Mr. Lincoln
Leave the southern states our rights.

Proud and brave, southern man.

Independent, southern man.

 

Sing, sweet Alabama,

Of your turmoil and your pain.

Sing, sweet Alabama,

Of your black men bound in chains.

Sing your song, southern man.

It won’t be long now, southern man.

 

(Bridge)

 

Take me back to Georgia.

It’s the land where I was born.

General Sherman’s torn up Georgia.

They’ve destroyed where I belong.

War is cruelty, southern man.

A rebel’s duty, southern man.

 

Seven fifty thousand soldiers
Died under a blood-red sun.
From Sumter to Appomattox,
Sons and fathers every one.

The price of freedom, southern man,

Lies dead and buried in the land.

 

(Bridge)

 

Look toward the future,

April 2061.

Pray we all stand together.

Will we learn from what we’ve done?

The price of freedom, understand,

Lies dead and buried in the land.

Come together, every man.

We are all American.