The Battle Hyr Of The Republic
Is a song that I had the idea for last spring, even though I was trying not to write another
song, I just couldn't get it out of my mind. I love the civil war lyrics written by Julia
Ward Howe. To me they are real poetry, but they are extremely male oriented. It's all His
glory, His grace, it's just Him, He, His, Him, He, His from start to end. I thought it
would be nice to do a version that expresses the female aspect of divinity as well. Throw
in a her every once in a while, just for the hell of it. I wrote four verses.
Then the attacks happened, the song took a definite shape; I wrote another sixty-four verses
and I got my ass in gear and began putting together a group to do it.
I don't read music and haven't tried to play a musical instrument in twenty years or more.
I never played any of them well. I asked David Jenness of the
Sacred Clowns (several
of the musicians are Clowns
) to be the musical director, "I've never done that before" he said but I prevailed on him
to try. I've never produced a song before either so we set out to do the best we could
understanding that we didn't know exactly what we were doing. I asked Ivan Ulz to sing a
lead vocal and as part of the choirs, "I've never done that" he said. I asked Emilie
McDonald to sing a lead and in the choirs, "I've never done that before" she said. This
happened over and over again. LinDel Sandlin, Jeanette McMahon, Brett Berg and Robert
Napoli all said the same thing. The quality of their work speaks for itself, I have no need
to guild the lily.
David Jenness hooked me up with Arthur Schlenger who did an excellent job on post production and
had the unenviable task of trying to make up for my failings as a producer. Without either
David or Arthur this song would not have been possible.
David also pointed me to Perkin Barnes (6/8 Studio) who did an excellent job of handling mob
chaos as it descended on his beautiful recording studio and produced high quality recordings
of the riotous sessions. If I had such a nice studio, I wouldn't have let us in.
David was brilliant, from start to finish.
The song itself was ambitious beyond reason. I didn't just ask David to arrange and
orchestrate a normal song that is done in one or two styles. I asked him to do it for a
song that uses segments of Jazz, Rock, Rap, Reggie and Gospel. The idea was to make it
musically representative of the country. If I had more time I'd have done it Latin and
Hungarian as well. I may yet find the time.
If anyone wants to make the video for the song, write me, I have an excellent script outline.
All the musicians worked hard but the singers were especially fantastic, they stood for
hours, singing their harts out, then had a one take shot at their solos. The musicians all
donated their time and talents generously often by racing from a paying gig and being late
to another to do this project. They supported one another and my overly ambitious goals
with grace and dedication. No one bailed when it got difficult. They just keep working it
out. They endured difficult requests from a neophyte producer, between little and no
rehearsal and a one take recording schedule. They did it all with good humor and great skill.
I am proud to call them my friends.
We made this.
Lon Scott Devitt - December 24, 2001