I have never considered myself to be an accomplished musician. I simply used what I had to make a difference in the lives of others. We all have talents. You should consider using yours to help others. There is no better feeling of purpose than that which is discovered in serving others.
Crutchhiker, In The Hours Of Darkness is an album dedicated to the legacy of the men and women of the 1st Armored Division, 1st Brigade, 1-37 Armor "BANDITS".
In 2003, while I was packing a vehicle in preparation for a long deployment to Iraq, I found space to include a Takamine 6-string guitar. My dad had given it to me as a gift just before I joined the army. Over the course of the deployment the guitar proved to be a valuable asset. It shaped my military experience in every way and allowed our unit to have a voice. I wrote songs about everyday life during deployment, humorous pokes at military leadership and songs reflecting the devastating heartbreak of close friends fallen in combat.
In the summer of 2003, I attended a memorial service for a service member I didn't know personally. After the service, I was left with a lump in my throat that wouldn't subside. The service was eerie and dry-eyed. No one mourned, nor visually displayed any emotion whatsoever, but I could feel the fear and anger like a heavy fog set all around us. Soldiers needed to grieve and the music provided a outlet for soldiers to process grief.
On November 15th, 2003, Sergeant Timothy Hayslett was killed while on patrol in Baghdad, Iraq. This was a devastating blow to our unit’s moral. Sgt. Hayslett was known and loved by everyone. I had taken a college German language course with him before we deployed and had a deep respect and admiration for him. He was a natural leader.
ALBUM: In the hours of darkness
Distraught to learn of his death and unfulfilled by the absence of grieving in previous memorial services, I wrote a song called, "Alaska". I had seen Sgt Hayslett in our internet cafe the day before his death. He was showing me pictures of Fairbanks, Alaska, the post where he would have been headed in just days, had he not been killed. The song was the result of our raw emotion and lament. Members of our command became aware of the song and were convinced that the original music would provide a more inviting atmosphere for a healthier grieving process. They were right. I don't think there was a dry eye in the auditorium, including mine.
Though it was among the most emotionally difficult tasks I've ever had to endure, I was committed to replicate the process with an original memorial service song for all the memorial services to come. I had no idea who I'd be writing a song for next.
In 2007, while recovering from combat wounds, I recorded the compilation of songs my friends and I had written throughout the two deployments to Iraq. I released the “In the Hours of Darkness” album in honor of my fallen friends. The feedback was more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. I couldn't be more honored to play a small role in helping my battle-buddies grieve and laugh through music. I never could have imagined that music could play such a powerful and personal role in such trying times. This music in many ways is the soundtrack to my life. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to download it for free.