My passion for songwriting has often landed me in unexpected terrain. Songwriting with U.S. soldiers who have returned from combat is certainly one of the most unusual – and rewarding – career turns I never imagined.
What started with a chance meeting after a challenging performance in a military hospital cafeteria has turned 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 lowest — and the highest — 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.
Since 2010 I’ve worked with groups of combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Weekend retreats with about a dozen soldiers and their families have yielded more than 40 songs, and, more importantly, offered a path to help wounded veterans and their families cope with the aftermath of combat.
The next SongwritingWith:Soldiers project is scheduled for late April 2013 near Fort Hood, Texas. We are grateful to our funding partners The Bob Woodruff Foundation, The ASCAP Foundation and Lockheed Martin for their support in making this project possible. Songwriters Radney Foster and Jay Clementi, who teamed up with us in previous retreats, will be back working with us again.