I yield to no man or woman in my admiration for News Of The World but I was sorely disappointed in this. The tale at least in part of a scratch band ( is that a term of the day ?) in ante-bellum Texas and a very obnoxious fiddler doesn't ring very true. It strikes me as the work of someone who has just had banjo lessons from a very formal teacher and is over-excited by her new knowledge. This band who meet by chance in a Confederate camp talk of their music in the lofty tones of Juilliard graduates discussing keys, harmonies and a cappella interludes in a most unconvincing way. These are meant to be self taught poor people who I doubt would recognize a key if it bit them. In my experience most self taught musicians think in terms of melodies and what sounds right not in terms of its sharps and flats. I've also never met a drummer who could master a tin whistle in a week let alone a day. Most disappointing. Maybe some of the others are better.
PS Subsequent to writing the above I checked with a musicologist who confirmed that no such band of that composition would have existed in that period let alone be called scratch and a little thought makes you realize that no band could have made any living in such an environment ( a single fiddler might), nobody without a classical education would have thought in keys and most damning of all the bodhran does not take its place in Irish music until the mid-twentieth century (Check with Wikipedia) and the techniques used by the drummer are of even more recent invention. Overall shocking research unless I'm missing the point of an elaborate joke
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