History with a woman’s touch

Published 9:05 pm Tuesday, September 30, 2008

History with a woman’s touch

By Ginger Schmidt

Lifestyles Editor

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He said: I have always been an amateur civil war historian because of my family ties to the Civil War.

She said: We wanted to provide a look at the civil war from a different perspective other than just the soldiers’.

When these two inspirations combined, “A Mother’s Son” was born. The musical soundtrack, which enhances the play “The Women of Potta Chitto” will be performed in Picayune, 6 p.m., Friday, October 10 at PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans by the CD’s creators Ralph Gordon and Richelle Putnam.

Gordon, of Union, said that he has always been interested in history. He has a unique attachment to the Civil War in that his family’s land was affected by both General Grierson’s Raid and General Sherman’s March. Gordon wrote the lyrics to seven of the eight songs which are all included on the soundtrack to be performed in Picayune. He said he was inspired to write the songs while he and Putnam were writing the scenes for the companion play. As the scene would come together so would the song in his head.

Putnam said the play provides three different perspectives of the civil war: a mother, a wife and a freed slave whose son was sold into slavery. “The songs each tell a story within themselves,” she said. The soundtrack is a musical accompaniment to the play. Only two of the songs are sung by the characters of the play, said Putnam. The rest of the songs are played during the scene breaks. Putnam wrote the music and sings all eight of the songs on the soundtrack.

Putnam and Gordon, President and Vice President of the Mississippi Writers Guild respectively, have collaborated on other works in the past: “A Forest for A Child,” “No Harvest Have I” as well as several other gospel, country and blue grass tunes. The pair have been partners since 2005.

It was Gordon who was commissioned by the Newton Chamber of Commerce to write a civil war play and he in turn invited two other artists to collaborate with him. The original script was called “A Mother’s Son.” Putnam and Gordon believe they have produced a much tighter script in the adaptation, “The Women of Potta Chitto.”

Gordon said he enjoys working with Putnam. “We have a lot of common creative energy,” he said. “Our relationship is one of trust and respect.” He also said they have a lot of fun working together. The pair are friends as well as business partners.

Together, they are excited and honored to be bringing the soundtrack, “A Mother’s Son” to Picayune. They are grateful to have the support of the Greater Picayune Arts Council. GPAC will be hosting the show with Partners for Pearl River County and www.picayunelive.tv.

To RSVP for the live performance of “A Mother’s Son,” call 601-569-2138. Admission is a $10 donation.