Dave, very soulful tune, I do remember it from Ken Burns Civil War series, which itself was so deeply dealt and soul filled, it made you feel as if you knew the individual soldiers.
So I gave the Irish maudlin thing a little more thought, as I tend to do. I think the Irish connection to sorrow is borne of two things, poverty being the first; the Irish were so poor, so terribly poor, until quite recently, the only thing they could ‘own’ were their feelings. The happy music of a good ‘session’ is uniquely Irish and a good time will be had by all. Conversely the music of their sadness, whether individual in mourning a personal loss, or national in mourning the death toll of the Potato Famine and the wealthy and healthy English doing nothing to ease its pain (from 85 miles away). To compound the tragedy of that time, most Irish could not afford to emigrate to their favored targets…America or Australia at that time, (not coincidentally two places who had wrestled their freedom away from England), so they were forced to make the much shorter trip across the Irish Sea to for all intents and purposes enemy territory and try to scrape out a living in England and support the family back home from there. The number of ballads and sad and mournful tunes that speak to that particular time are countless.
The second part to me is something I took from a movie, Out of Africa……… speaking of soundtracks…. There is a time in this true story where the main characters have a very romantic time out camping under the stars, and he washes her hair for her……. Later in the movie she is visited by tough time after tough time, tragedy after tragedy and when asked how she copes, she says, when I think I can’t go on, when it is all too tough, I think back to that wonderful time when camping, and in doing so I make my misery a little more difficult to bear, and then when I get through that, I know I can make it through whatever I am dealing with………. I think that same mentality might be at work in the mournful music, it makes the sorrow deeper and more unbearable seemly, but then having made it slightly worse by virtue of the cello, fiddle and bag-pipped soundtrack of their sadness…….. they step through and endure…. knowing they will eventually come out the other side.