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
She was due to perform at Live at the Marquee on June 25.
A Chicago couple moving to the Grand Rapids area set to be featured on an upcoming episode of 'House Hunters.'        
Kim Kardashian knew her marriage to basketball player Kris Humphries was doomed because she wed for all the wrong reasons.
Britain’s Got Talent: Ant and Dec were forced to halt the performance after the shock technical mishap [ITV] The first Britain’s Got Talent semi-final got off to a bad start as it was hit by techn
Tuesday’s EuroMillions Jackpot is soaring to an enormous €140 million.
Zac Efron dedicated a sweet post to his grandparents after they saw his film "Baywatch" at a theater in Bend, Ore.
Chris Clark and Amber Dowding recently reunited [OK! Magazine] And now the Essex pair, who broke up back in October, have spoken out for the first time about their recent reunion – and it seems th
Kim Kardashian said on "Watch What Happens Live" that her relationship with Kris Humphries ended because she wed him for the wrong reasons.
TORONTO — The last time Jerry Seinfeld was at Montreal’s Just for Laughs festival was in 1989 and audiences were just getting introduced to his motley crew of TV characters and their droll observation
Prince William told British GQ he wishes Princess Diana had lived to know Kate Middleton, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Gaz Beadle is said to have been 'flirting' with an Australian TV star [Wenn] And according to reports, the Geordie Shore star was seen "flirting" with an Australian reality TV star named Sam
Show producer Kate Oates has revealed that the Coronation Street is set to have a big shake-up as it moves to six days a week. The move was first announced last year and now the changes will finall
The president relayed stories of those who sacrificed for the U.S.
Former "19 Kids & Counting" star Joseph Duggar proposed to girlfriend Kendra Caldwell at sister Joy Anna Duggar's wedding to Austin Forsyth.
The Leventis Art Gallery continues to pay tribute to one of the pioneering artists of the first generation of Modern Cypriot Art in the exhibition Solomos Frangoulidis: The Artist – The Art Critic un
BEVERLY HILLS — Brenton Thwaites remembers exactly how he felt shooting his very first scene with Johnny Depp in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Billi Mucklow has announced she's pregnant [Billi Mucklow/Instagram ] The TOWIE beauty, who shares son Arlo with her footballer other half, took to Instagram to share the happy news with her follo
The talent show kicks off its week long semi-final shows tonight as 40 acts battle it out over 5 days for a place in the final. After much deliberation, judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha D
Irish actor Aidan Gillen says he expects the end of "Game of Thrones" in two more seasons will be a "bittersweet" experience for him.
The future king reflected on the loss of his mother Princess Diana.
Serena Williams, Hilary Swank and Justin Timberlake are having a lot of fun.
Broken Spectacles grew out of the Blind Center of Nevada’s music program, and they’ve played the at Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the Suncoast and the House of Blues. On June 3, th
He was arrested at around 3 a.m. Monday.
Israeli actress Gal Gadot says she hopes people who see her new movie "Wonder Woman" will leave theaters feeling inspired.
One Direction singer Niall Horan dedicated his performance of "This Town" to those killed in a bombing May 22 at an Ariana Grande concert.
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
Premier dance group-cum-dance company popularly known as G-Force celebrates a decade of excellence and fame with the theme Dance Your Dream.
CANNES, France (Reuters) - For Danielle Macdonald, a young actress hailed by Hollywood Reporter as the movie industry's "next big thing", every part of her Cannes experience - from the standing ovatio
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
Coppola is one of only 2 women to ever take home the top prize at Cannes.
Konnie Huq and Anthea Turner are among those expressing their sadness at the death of show “legend” John Noakes, who died peacefully in his sleep. 
Jacqueline Jossa showed off her incredible figure on Instagram [Jacqueline Jossa/Instagram] And, while the lovebirds have kept quiet over the details concerning their wedding, it seems as though t
This rose gold diamond ring is the most pinned this year [Pinterest/Sylvia Billone] Just like finding the right partner, you’ll be stuck with the ring for life – hopefully.  From karats, dia

Recent News

Fairfax to sell more stake in ICICI Lombard

Last Saturday, Fairfax sold 12.18 per cent in ICICI Lombard to private equity firms
Read Full Article

Government Releases 1.4-Billion-Pixel Map Of The Gulf Of Mexico Seafloor

The Gulf of Mexico has had an incredible history, leaving scientists to puzzle over a landscape peppered with channels, canyons, domes, pockmarks, faults, and mini-basins.
Read Full Article

Trapped 'like a caged animal': Climate change taking toll on mental health of Inuit

The annual ice melt in Canada's North is occurring earlier and earlier, and some researchers say that and other climate-related changes are affecting
Read Full Article

Sportswriters share their favorite Frank Deford stories

The legendary Sports Illustrated writer and NPR commentator died Sunday at age 78.
Read Full Article

Frank Deford, who wrote about sports with style and insight, dies at 78

Read Full Article

Predators GM recalls the trade that landed Caps’ prospect Filip Forsberg

Washington was one of about five teams on Martin Erat's list of possible destinations.
Read Full Article

Nationals activate Stephen Drew from disabled list

Washington optioned left-hander Matt Grace back to Class AAA Syracuse to clear space.
Read Full Article

Maryland men's lacrosse team ends 42-year drought, wins NCAA title

The Terrapins defeat Ohio State, 9-6, for the first national championship since 1975.
Read Full Article

EastEnders: Whitney Carter makes SHOCK departure from Walford after Shirley Carter tells her to 'crawl back into her gutter' for kissing father-in-law Mick Carter

EastEnders: Shirley Carter accuses Whitney of worming her way into the family [BBC] Only recently on EastEnders, Whitney – played by Shona McGarty – has been slowly spiralling out o
Read Full Article

Popular Finance

Fairfax to sell more stake in ICICI Lombard

Last Saturday, Fairfax sold 12.18 per cent in ICICI Lombard to private equity firms
Read Full Article
 

Fund manager Q&A: Emerging markets funds

Investors have been betting heavily on emerging markets stocks this year, and the strategy appears to be paying off.        
Read Full Article

Tiger kills zookeeper in England

Police said a tiger killed a female zookeeper Monday at a zoo 80 miles north of London. “A tiger had entered an enclosure with a keeper. Sadly the female zookeeper died at the scene,” Cambridgeshi
Read Full Article

Off-duty LAPD officer fires on assailant at a party in Glassell Park

An off-duty Los Angeles police officer was in the wrong place at the right time early Monday when an assailant opened fire on him and a group of friends, police said. The officer, whose name was n
Read Full Article

Protesters disrupt Texas legislature, as lawmakers scuffle and threaten gun violence

Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompti
Read Full Article

'Pirates' takes down the beach bodies of 'Baywatch' at the holiday box office

In this battle on the high seas and the beach, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” overwhelmed “Baywatch” for Memorial Day weekend box office victory. The fifth installment in the “
Read Full Article

Earthquake: 3.5 temblor strikes near Cloverdale

A shallow magnitude 3.5 earthquake was reported Monday morning seven miles from Cloverdale, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 11:21 a.m. Pacific time at a de
Read Full Article

Friends and family celebrate Sunset Strip legend Mario Maglieri at the Rainbow Bar & Grill

Mario Maglieri was a a central character in the story of Los Angeles youth culture. And Sunday afternoon at the Rainbow Bar & Grill on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, those who knew Maglieri,
Read Full Article

Tiger enters enclosure, kills zookeeper in England

Police said a tiger killed a female zookeeper Monday at a zoo 80 miles north of London. “A tiger had entered an enclosure with a keeper. Sadly the female zookeeper died at the scene,” Cambridgeshi
Read Full Article