Celtic Immigrants in the US Civil War

Jed Marum and Michael Martin Murphey at film premier.

Celtic and Cowboy music for new Documentary film.

In my music travels I often arrange visits with Celtic/Folk radio shows, typically in support of new albums or music projects. I enjoy visiting with the radio hosts around the country and talking about the music on-air, playing new or unreleased songs and promoting events that I am playing in the area. Frankly the visits help sell my recordings – and I love it when that happens!

(Photo is Jed Marum and Michael Martin Murphey at movie premier in Wichita KS).

It was on one such visit to a popular NPR program when the host welcomed me to her audience saying, “Today’s guest is Jed Marum who specializes in those stories of the Irish and Scottish immigrants who fought in the American Civil War.” I was a bit surprised by her characterization of my music and I started framing an objection, along the lines of “Oh, it’s just a passing interest …” when I realized that interest had been passing for over a decade! I had always thought of myself as a lover of the Celtic ballads, tunes, pub and folk songs – and as a performer of the music I loved, but I did have to recognize that I had begun to develop a specialty into the subject of the Irish who fought the Civil War – and the musical expression of that subject, through the songs THEY sang and the stories ABOUT them, that I chose to write.

Well all of this is by way of long introduction to an update on my most recent film project, THE ROAD TO VALHALLA. I am so proud to be a part of this wonderful documentary film, and you won’t be surprised to hear it’s about the American Civil War. I produced the soundtrack for the film and wrote a number of songs for it as well. Working with some wonderful musical guests on the recordings, the core of the soundtrack is quite Celtic in style. Cowboy/Country music legend, Michael Martin Murphey worked with us on two tracks. Murph has a similar interest to mine, in his Irish heritage and the impact of Irish songs on American music and indeed he has produced a well researched show and album on the Irish Cowboys.

I recorded some of the movie’s spiritual and brass band pieces with faculty and students from Northfield School of the Liberal Arts (Wichita KS) and I worked with two very fine, seasoned pros from Kansas named, Rob Loren (fiddle) and Ranger Stan Greer (mandolin). In Dallas I worked with David Lovrien and Linda Relph on whistle and fiddle respectively – and they made a significant contribution to the soundtrack. And finally, I worked closely for months with my friend and audio engineer Travis Ener on the project at his studio, Rockin’ T Audio Ranch in Princeton TX.

THE ROAD TO VALHALLA is making a series of showings around the country right now, and will play on PBS later in 2014. I’ve attached below a press-release from the folks at Lone Chimney Films about THE ROAD TO VALHALLA and one of its showings. If you’re in or near Wichita KS – please make the effort to be there! But more importantly, the press-release says more about the film than I can say as eloquently – and I want my Celtic Music Magazine readers know all about this film – and its Celtic music!!

Let me know if ya have questions and watch Youtube, FaceBook or this blog for more updates. There are discussions about a movie soundtrack album – and I’ll come back here with news about that when details are sorted out – but a good deal of the film’s music is included in my most recent album THE SOUTH WIND.

PS: You’ll recognize The Minstrel Boy, Tramps and Hawkers, Amazing Grace and other Celtic melodies that feature prominently in the sound track. More importantly, you’ll hear the Celtic melodic and rhythmic styles throughout on traditional instruments – especially fiddle and whistle.

View the Movie Trailer at Youtube – THE ROAD TO VALHALLA

December 10, 2013
The Road to Valhalla premieres at the Wichita Orpheum Theater, Wichita, KS
Saturday, January 11 at 7 pm, doors open at 6 pm.

Lone Chimney Films’ third full length documentary is scheduled to premiere on Saturday, January 11 at 7 pm at the historic Wichita Orpheum Theater, Wichita, KS.

The 90 minute documentary tells the story of the Kansas-Missouri border during the American Civil War. The film uses historic photographs, interviews and reenactment footage to tell the tale that covers everything from large battles to guerilla actions and the effect that the war had on the civilian population.

The film is narrated by the legendary character actor Buck Taylor, who starred in Gunsmoke, Tombstone, Gettysburg and more recently Cowboys and Aliens. Various members of the cast and crew will be at the premiere.

The film is directed by Ken Spurgeon and utilizes the talents of nearly 200 volunteers, reenactors and educators.

The Road to Valhalla is the third documentary by Lone Chimney Films, following Touched by Fire: Bleeding Kansas and Bloody Dawn: The Lawrence Massacre.

The Road to Valhalla was made possible by the donations and support of the Kansas Humanities Council, the Prairie Rose Chuckwagon, Northfield School of Liberal Arts, Hephner TV, Strategic Financial Concepts, Inc., Old Cowtown Museum, Phil and Becky Elder, Jim and Bev Mershon, Jim Graf and Greg and J.W. Johnston

Lone Chimney Films, Inc. is a 501c3 not for profit educational documentary company based out of Kansas.

For more information, please contact Ken Spurgeon at 316-259-4182 or lonechimneyproductions@yahoo.com

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About Jed Marum

Jed Marum albums play regularly on Folk/Bluegrass and Celtic radio programs around the world. His music is also distributed widely on Amazon, CDBaby and by all the major MP3 services. Throughout the US each year Jed plays over 150 shows at festival, club and concert venues and he has licensed music for TV and film projects released in US, Canada, and Europe. Reflected in his song writing and song selection is a keen interest in history and the passing of culture from generation to generation. Jed performs traditional songs and contemporary songs in musical style that is both Celtic and American, with strong Bluegrass roots. Nicky Rossiter is host of STORIES on Irelands South East Radio says,
"Jed Marum has his genetic roots in County Kilkenny, Ireland. Those genes must come from a long line of bards and storytellers to judge from his recorded output. I have collected a number of albums from this troubadour and he never fails to deliver."
James P. Gannon former Wall Street Journal editor and author of "Irish Rebels, Confederate Tigers" writing about one of Jed songs said,
"Prayer from Little Round Top is the song one of the great Irish poets might have written had he marched to Gettysburg with Jeds Irish immigrant from Alabama. The melody seems to well up from some misty glen in Connemara, wrapping the soldiers sad story in a teardrop. It may mark me as a sentimental Irish man to say this, but if you can listen to this haunting song without finding your eyes moistening, then somewhere along lifes way, youve lost your soul."
Jed is known as a gifted singer, a unique and talented player and an accomplished songwriter. He is a warm and comfortable performer with a story to tell and gift for the telling.
"What sets Jed Marum apart from other Celtic/Folk artists is the performance concepts and delivery he brings to the stage the historical significance, poignancy and emotion that his songs evoke, in addition to being a great singer and a stellar player. Jed is one of my favorite performers."
- Betsy Cummings, Entertainment Director for the North Texas Irish Festival


Celtic Immigrants in the US Civil War — 2 Comments

  1. I’m Scotch-Irish, and have always been a music lover.
    When I grew too old to keep my job, I decided to give
    music lessons to Piano students. naturally, they learned
    to play beautiful Irish,(and Scotch music) Margaret Eddy

  2. In my book, you are totally AWESOME! I believe we do not retire ( stop working), but we change careers! Teaching is a most valuable gift. Not everyone can teach! Bless you for it ! ! Mattie