Scheduled for release in August, 2021, by Warrior Songs, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping veterans heal from the harrows of war through the creative arts and music.
“The Last Thing We Ever Do” features 14 songs, created by professional songwriters, from the firsthand testimony of Vietnam veterans. Studio musicians bring these songs to life, poignantly and hauntingly.
“Seeds of Peace ” by Jason Moon and featuring Son Mach of The United Saigon Orchestra is a bittersweet song, denouncing the horrors of war and advocating friendship with your fellow man. Veterans and veteran non-profits receive copies of the album free of charge. Running the gamut of topics from Selective Service to combat and coping with civilian life and moral injury the album is sure to tug more than a few heartstrings.
Nineteen Vietnam veterans’ testimony was transformed into music by 21 songwriters and recorded by 81 studio musicians in 14 different studios. In total 109 artists, including 17 Vietnamese nationals, banded together to complete this project.
The release party is set to take place at Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee Wisconsin, from 14:00 – 18:00 PM. For $10 the general public can enjoy the party. The event is free for Veterans and everyone leaves with a complimentary CD.
Several Milwaukee and Wisconsin-based Veteran service organizations will be present at the event and will share information about their work. Event-goers can expect to find an exciting lineup that features 10 of the 14 acts that wrote and recorded songs for the album.
Official Album Sampler:
Seeds of Reconciliation
Jason Moon, an Iraq war combat veteran, knows first-hand what it is like to be plagued by severe PTSD. He founded Warrior Songs to reach out and help other veterans. One of the songs featured on the album, “Seeds of Peace” was written by Jason Moon in Vietnam in 2019. The sweet vocals of Vietnamese children complement the renowned conductor of the United Saigon Orchestra’s, Son Mach, beautifully as this bittersweet song plants the seeds of reconciliation. One would never tell that this haunting melody was initially recorded with a borrowed guitar.
“Seeds of Peace” was inspired when Moon witnessed a meal in Duc Pho shared by Vietnam veterans and former Viet Cong. Fifty years ago these two groups had fought against each other. One of the individuals who shared that meal was Chuck Theusch, founder of Children’s Library international.
Story to Song
The healing power of music is channelled through a unique program that encourages collaboration between established musicians and Veterans, turning their story into song. This process becomes a platform for reflection, transformation and, ultimately, healing. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look.
Through the Warrior Songs website and at events Veterans are invited to submit poetry, stories and songs. Veterans retain all rights to the original material and, should the Veteran wish it, their identities are kept confidential. Material that represents important issues that Veterans face, like healing from moral injury and adapting to civilian life, are selected to turn into songs. To accurately reflect the diverse population present in the military the song selection spans all kinds of genres.
Once the material has been decided on a team of songwriters get to work to transform the submissions into musical arrangements. Whenever possible, military Veterans who are songwriters themselves, are included in this process. Submitting Veterans are consulted as they hold the final say over song approval. Recording takes place in a professional recording studio and whenever possible, musicians who are military veterans, are included in this process. The final product is a beautiful, full-length CD released to the public.
A First in Modern Music
The successful completion of Warrior Songs Vol. 3 paved the way for production to start on “Veterans of Color: Warrior Songs Vol. 4.” The anticipated release date is tentatively set for 2022 / 2023.
Connie Hunter Baptise, a retired US Air Force veteran, is helping to co-produce this deeply meaningful album and shared her thoughts. “I’m honored to be invited to co-produce this first ever in the history of modern music compilation of United States Military Veterans of Color’s first person testimonies transformed into songs. I look forward to assisting the next generation of Veterans of Color develop a more complete knowledge of their heroes, sheroes, and the deep patriotic traditions from which they come.”