SONGWRITERS’ CORNER: COMBO’s Special Tribute to Our Soldiers in Service of Our Country
COMBO’s Featured Songs for June will be songs about soldiers written by Colorado songwriters, some of whom themselves have served in our Armed Forces like Troy Hoss (Army) of Canon City and Jeff Norman (Marines) of Castle Pines.
We will also present a little back story on the song and how the writer came about composing it, as well as a short bio on the writer.
Al Read: “God, Keep ‘Em Safe”: This whole article idea came about because of Al. During a data entry catch-up session, we got really curious about Al. Doing some research pulled up that, unfortunately, Al had passed in 2013. But his songs live on.
Al was a gifted country singer, songwriter and musician. He started playing guitar at a young age and enjoyed performing for his family, friends and fans for many years accompanied by a long list of musicians and artists who became cherished friends along the way. He wrote and recorded several songs, many based on his long career as a truck driver, while his most recent music video, “God, Keep ‘Em Safe”, revealed his love for Family, God and Life. It was written as a prayer and a tribute for his nephews and nieces who were serving in the armed forces.
But music wasn’t Al’s only gift. He was a skilled craftsman drawing from nature’s natural beauty by creating furniture, building homes, and other unique items from wood. Drawing from their truck driving experience, he and Bridgette, his wife of 26 years, ran a successful Pilot Car Business. They also briefly owned a local restaurant/lounge where Al and his band would play.
He was a hard worker, doing whatever it took to provide for his family. Anyone that knew him will attest to his fairness, honesty and integrity in whatever he did. Al filled his life with a variety of hobbies and interests such as hunting and fishing, four-wheeling, auto racing, riding his horses, working on vintage cars, including refurbishing his 1955 Pontiac Star Chief.
Al’s favorite pastime, besides music, was spending treasured moments with his family and friends. Al’s sense of humor, generous nature, and zest for life impacted the lives of many people in a positive and caring way. He will be greatly missed by those who love him.
Also coming during June: Jeff Norman’s “Song for Pete”, Leslie Tom’s “Didn’t Think Twice”, Troy Hoss’ “The Front Line”, and Kristi Hoopes’ “Angels Anthem”. You can listen to them all on COMBO’s website, https://www.coloradomusic.org
Jeff Norman: “Song for Pete”: “My high school friend Klaus Peterson served 2 tours as a tracker with the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade… his unit called him “Pete”. He tragically had to interrupt his tours to return home to NY for his younger brother’s funeral, who had died in a fire. He’s been through it all and still comes out swinging. He saw me off at the Flagstaff, AZ bus station in 1975 as I headed to USMC boot camp, and we’ve been songwriting partners for over 45 years.”
Leslie Tom: “Didn’t Think Twice”: The song is a moving tribute to her grandfather, Milton Smallwood Alexander, and his service during World War II in Normandy, as well as a document of the sacrifices those serving tours of duty in our armed forces still make today on behalf of their country. With this generation of men and women quickly passing away, Leslie wanted to craft a song that told their story but that other veterans and active-duty service men and women could relate to as well. “Didn’t Think Twice” is the first single from Tom’s EP, entitled Leslie Tom, which was released in February 2017.
Co-written with Billy O’Rourke, the song was produced by John Macy (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Richie Furay, Los Lobos) and features singer Pete Scobell (of Pete Scobell Band) dueting with Tom. Scobell is a Naval Academy graduate and an ex-Navy SEAL who became a musician and had an iTunes chart-topping song with Wynonna Judd (“Hearts I Leave Behind”) featured in
“American Sniper,” the film about Scobell’s Navy SEAL teammate Chris Kyle’s life. A video to
accompany “Didn’t Think Twice” has also been released.
All proceeds from the sale of the single will benefit veterans in the form of donation to the Travis Manion Foundation (http://www.travismanion.org), a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.
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Q: Why Do We Celebrate Memorial Day?
A: Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance for everyone who has died serving in the American armed forces. The holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, started after the Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate dead. It is observed on the last Monday of May [May 28th this year]. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.
Q. What is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?
A. Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. Veterans Day – November 11 – not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the