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Songwriters Talk About This Is My America

By History Net staff 
Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: January 27, 2009 
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This Is My America songwriters and performers, except where noted. (L to R): Beth Nielsen Chapman, Bart Herbison (NSAI Executive Director), Lynn Wilbanks (Songwriter and TIMA Creative Design and Development), Wood Newton, Victoria Venier, Douglas Hutton (TIMA Executive Producer), Jon Vezner, Rory Bourke, Matt King, Tim Ryan, Brian White.
This Is My America songwriters and performers, except where noted. (L to R): Beth Nielsen Chapman, Bart Herbison (NSAI Executive Director), Lynn Wilbanks (Songwriter and TIMA Creative Design and Development), Wood Newton, Victoria Venier, Douglas Hutton (TIMA Executive Producer), Jon Vezner, Rory Bourke, Matt King, Tim Ryan, Brian White.

The following quotations are taken from statements made by songwriters and others who worked on This is My America, a 3-CD musical history of the United States, published by Hutton Music. Click here to read an interview with the project's executive producer, Douglas Hutton.

"This is My America is simply one of the most amazing projects the Nashville Songwriters Association International has had the privilege to be involved with. The music is incredible, the stories amazing, and the concept is fabulous."—Bart Herbison, executive director, Nashville Songwriters Association International

"It is an honor for the Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony to have participated in This is My America . . . I can think of no other recorded project that has more potential to speak to the American people."—Mark Blakeman, vice president and general manager, Nashville Symphony Orchestra

"I haven't felt this way about a song since 'Kiss an Angel Good Morning.' I love the lyrics!"—Charley Pride, vocalist on "Mississippi (Roll On Home With Me)"

"Jim Weatherly and Wood Newton have written a superb melody and lyric that captures the spirit of 'Old Glory' and reminds us of the sacrifices made in the name of democracy. This project was huge undertaking and hopefully it will educate and arouse the patriot in us all."—Billy Dean, vocalist on "Wave On, Old Glory, Wave On"

It was wonderful to work with Billy Dean on this particular recording ("Wave On Old Glory, Wave On") because we had never had the opportunity to perform with him, as well as with the Nashville Symphony. This also gave Douglas (Hutton) the opportunity to learn more about who the Fisk Jubilee Singers are and what we do, so it was very good to be part of this wonderful, wonderful project.—Paul T. Kwami, musical director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers

"My mother is Salish (Flathead) and I grew up in Montana on the Flathead Indian Reservation with my family. With these songs, I am able to speak to my ancestors and, for a moment, ride along in their journeys."—Tim "Ryan" Rouillier, songwriter and performer

"In 1863, during the height of the Civil War, the brutal campaign for Vicksburg, Mississippi, began. The Union soldiers were ordered to burn down the nearby town of Jackson. The destruction was so complete that almost all that remained were the chimneys of a few houses. My hometown became known at that time as Chimneyville."—J. Fred Knobloch, songwriter

"'Ridin' the Rails' was inspired by the 1933 William A. Wellman Depression masterpiece, Wild Boys of the Road, a movie which told of the story of teenage boys and girls who took to the rails in order to relieve the burden on their parents."—Rory Bourke, songwriter and American History scholar

"I was working for commission part-time at a local store back home in Hendersonville, North Carolina. I also had a job detailing cars at an auction . . . it seemed as if my dreams were always dashed by the reality of hours of work and little pay . . . This song ('American Dream') (asks) how can we be 'living the dream' with beautiful opportunities in this country, but still carry the burden of being a majority of struggling citizens living within the margins and looking through a glass ceiling."—Matt King

"As a child, I grew up listening to the stories my grandfather would tell us about 'the Old Country' and his 'new home in America.' As a six-year-old boy, he crossed the Atlantic as a third-class steerage passenger . . . This song was written with Victoria Venier, whose grandfather, Lorenzo Venier, also came to this country with $20 in his pocket and a dream in his heart."—Lynn Wilbanks

 


One Response to “Songwriters Talk About This Is My America”


  1. 1
    clinton swick says:

    I have listened to all three of the disks and I can say without reservation that this is without a doubt some of thes best written and performance of music that I have had ever heard. I am very impressed. This would without a doubt make an excellent movie.



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