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Southern Horizon

Authentic Period Music for Civil War Balls, Living Histories and Related Events

     Southern Horizon has been performing 19th century period music since 1987 for reenactments, museums, conventions, schools and private engagements. The group presents music popular of the period from 1816-1865. The music and arrangements are researched to present an accurate portrayal of the music heard in that period. The band performs in costume on instruments similar to those that would have been found in the homes of the citizenry of the 19th century.


Southern Horizon at the Appalachian Folk Festival.

     This ensemble has performed at many Virginia state parks and historical sites as well as at the centennial events for the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Other performances include programs for school groups and all performances focus on the representation of the lives and lifestyles of the 19th century. The music is drawn on the tradition of the people who played it; Scottish, Irish and English influences combine with the turbulence, joy, and sadness of this period in American history.


     What began as a “pick-up” band has developed into a group of musicians with diverse backgrounds, all dedicated to developing an authentic sound of the music of mid-19th century America. The instruments used include banjo, fiddle, guitar, pennywhistle, harmonica and heartfelt vocals.


     Southern Horizon offers themed programs upon request, such as the story of Robert E. Lee presented in narrative and song with quotes from correspondence by and about Mr. Lee interspersed between musical interludes. The band is able to provide a variety of such programs, given prior program requirements or requests.


The Lee Moment


     One of the South's most beloved sons is Robert E. Lee. A renowned army commander, educator, and southern gentleman, he remains an inspiration to this day.


     Southern Horizon has produced a one-hour musical tribute to the General. Using narrative, quotes from General Lee, and seventeen carefully chosen musical selections, they tell the story of General Lee's life from his early days at Startford Hall Plantation to his death in Lexington, Virginia. The program is often performed with David Palmer, whose portrayal of General Lee is outstanding.


   This unique program is suitable for educational venues, concerts, fundraising events, or simply a great time for history and song.



Reviews of Southern Horizon


     "Obviously enjoy both their music and performing it together, and that comes through clearly on this tape." - Dirty Linen, a magazine devoted to folk, electric folk, traditional and world music

     "The average Civil War soldier spent more time singing, marching and camping than fighting. . . it was a pleasure to hear this collection of songs that adds greatly to any interpretation of the story of the Civil War soldier." - Cynthia MacLeod, Superintendent, Richmond National Battlefield Park

     "The Southern Horizon package has earmarks of a fine acoustical pickin' session tuned to a historical note." - Norman Rowe, Richmond Times Dispatch, 1993

     "Four voices blend skillfully with authentic period instruments, chiefly banjo, fiddle, and guitar, to present seventeen traditional tunes from Civil War-era America. 'Do They Miss Me At Home' is one of those albums that gets better the more you listen to it." - Brenda Wilt, Civil War Times Illustrated May 2001 review of "Do They Miss Me At Home?"

     "The singing has a soulful sound to it. Old period songs like these can be interpreted like funeral parlor music. These vocal cuts have life and vitality in them. The ballads have a dreamy quality like your mother may have had when she sang you to sleep. If you don't have that memory, I fell sorry for you. This is a rainy day CD that you put on and listen to along with the crackle of the fire and a hot drink next to you.

     "I am so glad talented people like these fine musicians continue to foster this form of period music. Now please, let me sit back in my mint julep, put my feet up, close my eyes, and let this music transport me back to the 1860's." - Art Garret, review, Civil War News, 2000

     "Media savvy and very professional."- Richmond's Style Weekly         


Links to Related Websites of Interest

The Museum of the Confederacy

The Mariners' Museum - Newport News

The Manassas Museum System

John Singleton Mosby Foundation

The Civil War at Endview Plantation, Newport News

Page One History Publications

United Daughters of the Confederacy

Poetry and Music of the War Between the States


|Southern Horizon|Band Members|Booking Schedule|Recordings|CD Liner Notes|About the Songs|Mercantile|Contact Us|



The band consists of: John Robison, banjo, harmonica, vocals; Su Tarr, fiddle, vocals.


Contact Information:  John Robison (804)320-4680

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Southern Horizon logo designed by Canfield Design Studios; most photos thanks to John Robison; portions of  text by G.L. Marshall; web design by Pixel Eye Designs© 2008.