SongwritingWith:Soldiers pairs professional songwriters, in retreat settings, with active duty and veteran military members to write songs based on their experiences of combat and returning home.
What started with a chance meeting after a challenging performance in a military hospital cafeteria in Landstuhl, Germany, evolved into some of the most moving, profound experiences I’ve known as a songwriter. Working with soldiers is to work with men and women who have served our country in situations that embody the highest — and the lowest — of of the human condition. To give voice, never mind a complete song, to somebody who might not otherwise be able to describe those experiences is more gratifying than anything I’ve ever done.
SongwritingWith:Soldiers transforms pain and isolation to hope and the ability to move forward.
It changes, and saves lives.
Since 2010 we’ve worked with groups of combat veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam. Through weekend retreats with about a dozen soldiers and their families, one and two day workshops in VA hospitals and Vet Centers, SongwritingWith:Soldiers has helped bring to life over 100 songs. More importantly, this work has offered a path to help wounded veterans and their families cope with the aftermath of combat.
SongwritingWith:Soldiers is an ongoing project. We schedule retreats throughout the year, as well as offering guidance to other writers who are looking to use their craft in service of others. Some of the best songwriters in the US have brought their craft to this project — Radney Foster, Jay Clementi, Gary Nicholson, Mary Gautier, Darrell Scott, Beth Nielson Chapman, Ashley Cleveland, Greg Trooper and Brad Parker, to name a few.
SongwritingWith:Soldiers is a registered 501(c)3 organization. We are grateful to our funding partners The Bob Woodruff Foundation, The ASCAP Foundation and Wooden Nickel Foundation, and many generous individual supporters for their help in making this project possible. Please donate to help support our work, and download songs written during our retreats.
To read more about SongwritingWith:Soldiers, please find coverage of our work in The New York Times, Spin, NPR’s “Weekend Edition”, the Washington Post, Denver Post and Los Angeles Times or view the special coverage by CNN/HLN.