Ring the Bell Softly

by Chris Vallillo

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about

Late in 2016, I had the opportunity to work with the WFMT Fine Arts Network on a show they were creating for national distribution called "Lincoln in Words and Music". I was asked to arrange and record 7 pieces of music that had been written for Lincoln's passing, many of which had never been recorded.

I received the music on October the 4th and needed to submit finished tracks by the 26th. These tracks are the result of that effort. WFMT wanted simple, sparse tracks, so I based these largely on the original piano versions reinterpreted on finger style guitar. I added in only a few rhythm parts and a little harmony, but just couldn't resist the chance to use trilling mandolins.

It was an intriguing project -- seriously arcane, dark music, but an interesting look into the way the nation mourned Lincoln's loss.

I hope you enjoy it. : )

credits

released February 12, 2017

Chris Vallillo: guitars, slide guitars, mandolins, gut string banjo, vocals.

Produced by Chris Vallillo for Gin Ridge Records.
Recorded at Gin Ridge Studio, October 2016

Songs on this EP were recorded for the Lincoln in Music and Letters program, produced and directed by George Zarr for the WFMT Radio Network, in collaboration with Thomas J. Kernan PhD, and the Newberry Library of Chicago, with generous support from the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation.

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about

Chris Vallillo Macomb, Illinois

Chris Vallillo is a singer/songwriter and folk musician who makes the people and places of “unmetropolitan” America come to life in song.

Performing on six-string and bottleneck slide guitars and harmonica, Vallillo weaves original, contemporary, and traditional songs and narratives into a compelling and entertaining portrait of the history and lifestyles of the Midwest.
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Track Name: A Hundred Years Hence
A HUNDRED YEARS HENCE
Tony Pastor

A hundred years hence!
A hundred years hence!

Abe Lincoln s been going it with a high hand
But still he s our ruler and by him we ll stand
Let s hope in the end that he ll prove he s got sense But he ll be forgotten a hundred years hence
A hundred years hence!
A hundred years hence!,


There s one whose bright fame shall forever live on, He preserved us a Nation: Our own Lincoln
For the Union and Freedom, his heart beat intense. And he ll be remembered a thousand years hence.
A thousand years hence!
A thousand years hence!
Track Name: Better Times Are Coming
BETTER TIMES ARE COMING
(1862) Stephen Foster

There are voices of hope that are borne on the air,
And our land will be freed from ist clouds of despair,
For brave men and true men to battle have gone,
And good times, good times are now coming on.

Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
Sound the news from the din of battle booming,
Tell the people far and wide that better times are coming.

Abra'm Lincoln has the army and the navy in his hands,
While Seward keeps our honor bright abroad in foreign lands;
And Stanton is a man, who is sturdy as a rock,
With brave men to back him up and stand the battle's shock.

Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
Sound the news from the din of battle booming,
Tell the people far and wide that better times are coming.
Track Name: The Assassin's Vision
THE ASSASSIN'S VISION
(1865) J.W. Turner.

The Assassin rode on his fiery steed,
His murd'rous work was done--
In the darksome night with fleeting speed,
Through woods his courser run!
As he hurried away from the scene of death,
On his brow were looks of despair;
Before him! around him! The evening's breath
Told him God's vengeance was there!

The pale moon beamed as onward he fled,
The stars looked down from on high,
The hills and valleys were crimson red
As blood to the murd'rer's eye!
He shuddered! he trembled! And oft looked around,
And dreary seemed each passing breeze,
And lo! the assassin at ev'ry bound
Saw a vision appear in the trees.

Heaven had witnessed! he could not escape!
The assassin's fate was sealed--
"Vengeance is mine!" saith God in his might,
As the vision that night revealed.
The assassin rode on with trembling and fear,
And mournfully murmur'd the breeze;
Before him! around him! all vivid and drear,
The vision appeared in the trees.
Track Name: A Gloom Is Cast O'er All Our Land
To the Memory of our Lamented President
Words and music by Henry Schroeder
1865.


A GLOOM IS CASR O'ER ALL THE LAND
To the Memory of our Lamented President
(1865) Henry Schroeder

A gloom is cast o'er all the land,
Our President is dead!
He fell by vile assassins hand,
His precious blood they shed!
They've slain the man who was their friend,
Most cowardly and base;
We all lament the sad event,
That brought to close his days.

Oh nation rouse! Oh nation rouse!
And let this crime, And let this crime,
A warning be for future time!
A warning be for future time!

His mind was kind and generous,
No hatred in his breast,
With love for North and South alike,
He labor'd for the best;
His mission, by that fatal deed,
Was ended much to[o] soon;
When most his counsel was of need,
On came the dreadful doom.

Oh nation rouse! Oh nation rouse!
Avenge the blow! Avenge the blow!
To traitors now no mercy show.
To traitors now no mercy show.
Track Name: Ring the Bell Softly
RING THE BELL SOFTLY
(1865) W. Dexter Smith Jr.

Someone has gone from this strange world of ours,
No more to gather its thorns with its flow'rs, ...
No more to linger where sunbeams must fade
Where, on all beauty, death's fingers are laid;
Weary with mingling life's bitter and sweet,
Weary with parting and never to meet,
Someone has gone to the bright, golden shore.
Ring the bell softly, there's crape on the door.


Someone is resting from sorrow and sin,
Happy where earth's conflicts enter not in, ...
Joyous as birds when the morning is bright,
When the sweet sunbeams have brought us their light,
Weary with sowing and never to reap,
Weary with labour and welcoming sleep,
Someone's departed to Heaven's glad shore.
Ring the bell softly, there's crape on the door.

Angels were.anxiously longing to meet,
One who walks with them in Heaven's bright street, ...
Loved ones have whisper'd that someone is blest,
Free from earth's trials, and taking sweet rest,
Yes! there is one more in angelic bliss,
One less to cherish, and one less to kiss,
One more departed to Heaven's bright shore.
Ring the bell softly, there's crape on the door.
Track Name: Our Brutus
OUR BRUTUS

He hath died for the weal of a land neath the heel
Of too many a merciless Nero;
But while there is steel, every tyrant shall feel
That God s vengeance but waiteth its hero.

He hath written his name in letters of flame
O er the archway of liberty s portal
And the serfs that now blame
will crimson with shame
When they learned they have cursed an immortal!
Track Name: Savior Of Our Country
SAVIOR OF OUR COUNTRY
(1865) James Porter and O. Wheelock,

Father! when on earth you fell
Father! was my Mother well?
When I fell your Mother cried!
Then unconsciously I died.
Glory forms our sunlight here!
Astral Lamps our Chandelier!
Rode you here among the stars,
In the train of silver cars!

Willie! on the earth look back!
Father! tis a speck of black!
Robed in Mourning as you see!
Mourns the Earth for you and me!

God is Father! God is dear!
May I have two Fathers here?
Father! on our Golden pave,
Jingles something from your grave!
Willie! yes, Four Million Chains,
Bring I here where Justice Reigns,
From the Land your Father saves!
Chains that bound Four Millions Slaves!

Willie! on the earth look back!
Father! tis a speck of black!
Robed in Mourning as you see!
Mourns the Earth for you and me!

I have conquered all the Land!
I have made the South my Friend!
Who four years my power defied!
In my Glory's zenith died!
WILLIE! on the earth look back!
Father! 'tis a speck of black?
Robed in Mourning as you see!
Mourns the Earth for you and me!

Willie! on the earth look back!
Father! tis a speck of black!
Robed in Mourning as you see!
Mourns the Earth for you and me!