Madison County’s Mike Grimes is rapidly becoming a prominent Civil War music man.
The Berea resident, who has been performing period music for more than 20 years, combines vocal and instrumental music with commentary about his selections that has captivated audiences in events and activities in three states.
Grimes’ Civil War performance includes such standards as “Goober Peas,” “Lorena” and the “Bonnie Blue Flag.” His repertoire also includes “Dixie” and the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and he does take requests. He accompanies himself on a keyboard and frequently performs with stringed-instrument backup artists.
Mike has performed at the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea, Civil War re-enactments and living history programs in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia and has been a regular at Battle of Richmond activities for eight years.
At Richmond recently, Grimes performed period music at the Battle of Richmond re-enactment weekend and also led congregational singing at Mt. Zion Christian Church’s Civil War worship service. In previous years, he has led a shape note choir at Mt. Zion that has focused on religious songs of the period.
The Lewis County, Tenn., native has been a performing musician for some 45 years and got interested in the Civil War 30 years ago when he discovered his great-great grandfather, Levi Grimes, was in the Confederate army. Mike began researching the history of Civil War music, began to play it and put the songs into a program that included the history of each number.
The bearded Grimes has been performing in period attire for about 10 years and released a CD album – “Songs of the Civil War: a Southern Perspective” – in 2004.
A private courier contractor, Mike grew up with music as his father was a church song leader. Mike began singing at an early age, learned to play the piano in high school and also performs on the guitar. He has been a church song leader for 40 years. Grimes also is a long-time member of the Battle of Richmond Association.
Ed Ford, owner and operator of Ford Public Relations.