News Reality

First Listen: Becky Warren Presents War Surplus, a Couple's Personal Battleground

by www.huffingtonpost.com
Once in a blue moon, you'll hear an artist for the first time who presents a debut solo album with moving music and stirring lyrics that immediately touch the heart and soul. In 2016, Nashville singer-songwriter Becky Warren is that artist, and the potent, poignant War Surplus is that album. Now you can hear the entire record for the first time anywhere as War Surplus streams exclusively at The Huffington Post for three days before its October 14 release. I must admit I wasn't familiar with the award-winning Warren or her previous work with the Great Unknowns. Shame on me for that, but I'm pleased to introduce Warren to fellow first-time listeners who hopefully will get to know and appreciate her songs as much as I do now. With Warren writing most of the material, the Boston-based alt-country band released two albums eight years apart. Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls declared 2004's Presenting the Great Unknowns "one of the best things I have heard this year" while signing them to her indie label, Daemon Records. Their career was interrupted after Warren married a GI in 2005 who was quickly deployed to Iraq then eventually returned to the States suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Warren's music career was put on hold as she worked to keep her marriage together before they amicably split, then got divorced. As some of the best singer-songwriters do, Warren drew from life's experiences and was motivated by her involvement with the Johnny Mercer Foundation writing program in 2012. Serving up a brave, unbiased look at an issue that can potentially tear this country apart, this all-Americana woman spent four years putting together a powerful 12-song concept album that deals with "War in Iraq is Hell" themes using a couple of fictional characters, Scott and June. The songs, all of which were written entirely by Warren except for "Stay Calm, Get Low," which included a shared music credit with Brad Hammer, bring a first-person authenticity to the semi-autobiographical material. With her debut solo album, Nashville singer-songwriter Becky Warren puts a personal touch on war. With an emotional range and plaintive voice that bring to mind the best of Lucinda Williams and Neko Case, Warren makes you feel for both characters going through the rigors of their lives, just like the most gripping dramatic films do. Told from the viewpoint of the soldier Scott (on seven songs) and his steady girlfriend/eventual wife June (five), the album takes you on an emotional roller-coaster ride. Equally effective are teary-eyed ballads ("San Antonio," "I Miss You") and some of the best honky-tonk rockers ("Dive Bar Sweetheart," "Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time," a personal favorite) that could get a full house at the Ryman on their toe-tapping feet. Warren isn't playing the Mother Church of Country Music (yet), but after a couple of tour dates next week in Knoxville and at the 5 Spot in Nashville, she'll open several shows for the Indigo Girls beginning October 27 in Baltimore. Also deserving praise are stellar Nashville musicians such as Paul Niehaus (guitars, pedal steel), Adam Wakefield (organ, accordion), Dillon Napier (drums) and military veteran Jeremy Middleton, who played bass while also handling production chores for this superlative presentation. So spend some time with War Surplus, which is now available for preorder, then read exclusive comments from Warren about the album that were provided by her publicist. BECKY WARREN DISCUSSES WAR SURPLUS: 1. This new record is very personal and, even though it deals with characters, in a lot of ways it's autobiographical. What would you like listeners to take away from the story this record tells? Becky Warren: "I really wanted to create characters that listeners would care about, even if they don't know any Iraq or Afghanistan veterans themselves. Post-9/11, our wars have been fought by such a small portion of the population -- less than one-half of 1 percent. I hope that this record helps bridge that civilian-military divide for people just a little bit." 2. What were you listening to throughout the process of writing this record? Becky Warren: "I listened over and over to great songs about veterans, especially songs that address vets from a human angle rather than a political one. Some of my favorites are Steve Earle's 'Home to Houston,' Hayes Carll's 'KMAG YOYO' and John Prine's 'Sam Stone.' The concept album I listened to the most often was Springsteen's The Rising, which I think of as a 9/11 concept album. It takes a potentially political topic and makes it human, which is what I was aiming to do with War Surplus. It also has a great range of songs that work really well both together and separately." 3. What made you realize that this was going to be a concept piece? Was there a specific turning point? Becky Warren: "Definitely. I went to a songwriting program that's funded by the Johnny Mercer Foundation, so half the writers there were from a musical theater background. Learning about their process was really inspiring -- they focused so much more on characters than I was used to. I had written 'She's Always There' -- one of the songs that ended up on War Surplus -- before the Mercer program, and I wrote a second one while I was there, 'Anything That Lasts,' so I just decided to keep going."  4. What are some memorable moments from writing/recording the album? Becky Warren: "Getting in touch with the writer Colby Buzzell, who inspired my song 'Stay Calm, Get Low.' I was reading his first book, My War: Killing Time in Iraq. I loved it and felt so inspired that I tweeted at him and asked if he would mind if I wrote a song about it. I really didn't expect to hear back from him, but he tweeted back and said that would be cool. So then I was under a ton of pressure to actually write a song I wasn't embarrassed to share with him in a reasonable amount of time. I was so glad when he liked the song, and later, the whole album -- that's been one of the most satisfying parts of the whole project for me. "A big factor in my writing of the album was the length of time it took me to do it. I spent four years working on the songs, and I wrote around 40 songs for the project. A lot of them were no good, but probably 20 of them were contenders for the album. Then there were some tough decisions choosing which songs would make the strongest album, in terms of telling the story well and flowing well from one to another in sequence." Publicity photos by Kyle Dean Reinford.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


Read Full Article On www.huffingtonpost.com
Latest
George Michael  fans are calling for a memorial bench in his honour [Getty] And now the Faith singer's legions of fans are calling for a special memorial bench to be placed in a park w
Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace made her feelings known about last night's Celebrity Big Brother[Wenn] Viewers branded the model ‘disgusting’ after she appeared to take aim at the Queen of Clean, over h
She once shared a bottle of vodka with Morrissey.
From the man who brought you Gangnam Style.
Mel Giedroyc wants to be the Ann Widdecombe of Strictly if she ever goes on it.
Alesha Dixon wants people to stop visiting attractions where animals are cruelly used for tourists’ entertainment.
Press secretary Sean Spicer said 31 million television viewers watched along with 16.9 million he said had clicked on a CNN live stream of the event.
NEW YORK (AP) — After two straight years of all-white acting nominees and an overhauling of the motion picture academy, the Oscars are poised to trend in a different direction Tuesday. Barry Jenkin&#
The comedian will be presenting the star-studded awards show in September.
Kellyanne Conway inspired a new meme when she used the term “alternative facts” on “Meet the Press,” but Trevor Noah has a grudging respect for her spin doctor ways. &l
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Bright red garments, gold embroidery and colorful accessories would normally have been the mode du jour for Thailand's ethnic Chinese celebrating Lunar New Year on Saturday.
function spottoonResize(){ jQuery.ajax({ type : "POST", async : false, url : "https://www.spottoon.com/huff/height", dataType : "json", data : {book_no : jQuery("#boo
It’s become something of a film-festival truism that certain movies play better at high altitudes. Exhibit A would probably be “The Blair Witch Project,” which took Sundance by storm in 1999 and g
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commer
Two Montreal-based acts, Paul DesLauriers and Angel Forrest, were the big winners at the 20th annual edition of the Maple Blues Awards handed out Monday during a gala in Toronto that was hosted by
No one likes Corrine. She’s bratty. She has a nanny. She likes to nap and jump in bouncy castles. And she complains about having to do chores. No, she’s not Nick Viall’s little sister – she’s the spoi
Michelle Williams is recounting the emotional toll that leaving the Brooklyn home she once shared with her late boyfriend Heath Ledger took on her.
IT SEEMS things are still fine between actress Ellen Adarna and presidential son Sebastian "Baste" Duterte. News of their supposed split made headlines Monday evening after the Kapamilya star informed
KYLIE Padilla is reportedly expecting her first child. In an article published by the Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP.ph), the showbiz website cited several sources claiming that the Kapuso actre
Artists, singers, actors, writers and activists appeared at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., in droves on Saturday. But how will the notable attendees keep their activism fires burning after
Ex-Bake Off host Mel Giedroyc says she is too young to be Strictly Come Dancing's "comedy old bag".
Sundance is known as a festival of discovery, where young unknowns come for their big break. Which makes the appearance of “To the Bone” in the festival’s high-profile U.S. Dramatic Competition so
Meet Gavin Rossdale, middle-aged single dad. He didn’t want it to turn out this way, he says. He feels a little self-conscious when his boys come over, because it’s just him, not a whole family un
What was Episode VIII, the next installment of the main “Star Wars” saga, will be called “The Last Jedi.” Lucasfilm unveiled the title Monday.        
Los Angeles Opera announced its 2017-18 season on Monday,  including main stage productions of “Carmen,” Candide” and “Rigoletto” as well as Off Grand programs for venues such as REDCAT, the Broad
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Oliva Pope gets a lot of credit for being a powerful woman, but it’s the woman behind the fictional character who is helping to create real change in an industry thatR
"Ella Grace has arrived!!!" the former "Cosby Show" star wrote on Instagram.
Luke Bryan to sing National Anthem at Super Bowl, plus other entertainment news        
Instead of watching President Donald Trump be sworn in on Friday, HuffPost Women and Bustle, in partnership with Bold, put together a non-partisan Inauguration Day event in D.C. Watch Us Run was
“Adept,” writes reviewer Brendan Kiley, is a “ small, delightfully bonkers, comedy-plus-poetry, intimate-theater marvel.” It’s on stage through Jan. 28.
Sabina Ghebremedhin speaks to Actor and Director Kevin Smith about the Sundance Film Festival, Women's March and Oscars from Park City, UT.

Recent News

Mum using healthy eating to treat cancer

Sarah Valentine, 36, from Kent was offered either a full mastectomy or a lumpectomy and radiotherapy on the NHS, but she has defied medical advice by declining both options.
Read Full Article

Singer and TV presenter Alesha Dixon takes our health quiz

'The Boy Does Nothing' singer says she tries to work out as much as she can, be it in the gym or walking her two cocker spaniels dogs. She has been a pescatarian for about four years.
Read Full Article

Could cartilage from the NOSE help ease your knee pain?

Nicola Mueller, 39, a mechanic from Basel, Switzerland, wore down the cartilage in his knee through years of exercise. Doctors offered to rebuild it, simply by using a 6mm sample of his septum.
Read Full Article

Chilling menace of HACKERS holding the NHS to ransom

Three North Lincolnshire hospitals recently had their computer systems hacked by techies from the outside, who forced the cancellation of all their patients' appointments for two days.
Read Full Article

What links Brussels sprouts and sinusitis?

People who can taste bitter foods very strongly have a powerful immune response against sinusitis, says Dr Andy Turnbull, a clinical research fellow of bitter receptors at Imperial College London.
Read Full Article

1 in 8 adults in UK unaware they have high blood pressure

Some 5.5 million people, or one in eight people, are unaware they are living with high blood pressure. The condition has no symptoms but can lead to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Read Full Article

Can sucking on mints REALLY prevent tooth decay?

Dr Heff's Remarkable Mints were developed by two British dentists who claim they can freshen breath, protect teeth from acid attack between twice-daily brushing and repair tooth decay.
Read Full Article

Scientists discover tumours create their own fuel

A study published in the journal Nature Genetics shows that drugs to starve breast cancer tumours of hormones fail because cancer growths create their own supply through extra copies of genes.
Read Full Article

FSA says baby food and biscuits are linked to cancer

The Food Standards Agency said famous UK brands including Hovis and McVitie's have products that contain raised levels of a chemical linked to cancer.
Read Full Article

Popular Finance

Budget 2017: FM may widen 'Google Tax' net to include songs, games, films

Equalisation levy of 6 percent, introduced in 2016-17, may be widened to account for downloading of songs, books and other online consumption such as news and the movies; rate likely to be kept unch
Read Full Article

Budget 2017: Govt may set Rs 75k-100k cr spectrum revenue target in 2017-18

Department of Telecom has identified about 580 Mhz of spectrum across 700, 1800, 2100, 2300 Mhz and 5G airwaves that will be auctioned in 2017
Read Full Article

Demonetisation to have limited impact on Nepal: IMF

"The main risk to the outlook pertains to failure of capital budget implementation to improve," the IMF said, noting that Nepal's economy is rebounding after a slowdown caused by the 2015 earthquake
Read Full Article

US can learn from India's move toward cashless society: Expert

"With this, India will skip two generations of financial technologies and build something as monumental as China's Great Wall and America's interstate highways," Wadhwa said in his op-ed titled 'Wha
Read Full Article

Ajanta Pharma gets import ban for selling unapproved drug in US

The import alert falls in the category of 66-41 which relates to marketing or promotion of unapproved products. In this case, Ajanta was found marketing its erectile dysfunction drug Kamarga in Unit
Read Full Article

Budget 2017: Jaitley may cut MAT along with lower corporate income tax

The extent of the cut in MATâ??s rate will depend on the reduction in headline corporate income tax rate that the finance minister is expected to announce in the budget
Read Full Article

Demonetisation drive to favour big gold jewellery store chains

Somasundaram PR, managing director of the WGC's Indian operations, said on Tuesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move to scrap 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes - a 'demonetisation' crackdown on corrup
Read Full Article

Budget 2017: Jaitley may set FY18 disinvestment target at about Rs 60,000 cr

Focus in 2017-18 may move to strategic sale of significant government equity in loss making units; NITI Aayog preparing list of unlisted state-owned companies that may qualify for strategic sale
Read Full Article

Sundance 2017 updates: Shailene Woodley joins protesters in urging the fest to ditch DAPL-funding sponsor

Sundance 2017 updates: Shailene Woodley joins protesters in urging the fest to ditch DAPL-funding sponsor Jan. 23, 2017, 9:52 p.m. Filmmakers come to Sundance with stories that reveal personal tru
Read Full Article