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The Civil War

Posted on

The Civil War

Current Status:
In Season
Various Artists
Elektra, Nonesuch
Folk, Soundtracks

We gave it an A

Though it has been meticulously assembled, this collection of music from Ken Burns’ 11-hour PBS series, The Civil War, — a gospel ”Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a brass-band ”Yankee Doodle,” a sad ‘n’ slow ”Dixie” — would be easy to pass up except for one thing: It contains Jay Ungar’s rendition of his ”Ashokan Farewell,” the modern-day folk ballad for fiddles and guitar that served as the series’ theme and became an instant hit. Tender, haunting, and filled with delicate melodic twists, it’s a tune of such runaway gorgeousness that the rest of the album could consist of old Don Ho medleys and still be graded: A