Recording Battle Hymn of the Republic
When I first suggested Battle Hymn of the Republic to my producer Billy Smiley, I had just begun working with him, and he didn’t know what to make of the suggestion. But when I sent him an informal sample of me singing it with the harp, he loved it! I was jazzed to give the song a whirl. And that’s what we did.
I had first encountered the song when I was a girl of nine, hearing Judy Garland singing it after JFK’s assassination. The country was in tatters. For those of you who weren’t alive then, the grief was as if your king was shot. He was close to royalty for many Americans. The song came out with Judy’s soft, woozy tremolo. She had a black dress. She was so heartbroken, and maybe a little tipsy, and the song expressed the grief that many of us couldn’t find ways to express.
Glory Glory Hallelujah, the song cries out exuberantly. I tried to channel that exuberance into a soaring faith that God has not left us in this land to sink under our problems, or to accuse others who see things differently, but to rise together as one people, lit by the faith and works that can make America whole again.
Happy Independence Day!
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