Posts Tagged ‘Operation encore’

Operation EncoreSeveral years ago, an organization called Operation: Encore, A Veteran Music Project came into being. The Operation: Encore organization exists as a place for currently enlisted, separated and ex-military personnel, as well as their spouses to find peace of mind during and after active duty.

During its time in existence, Operation: Encore has already helped many soldiers and their families. And the result of the encouragement that has come from the organization are several different musical releases that feature members of the organization itself. Members such as soldiers Steve D. Wilson, Andrew Wiscombe and Stephen Covell all have albums that they are promoting while they also represent Operation: Encore. Military spouse Rachel Harvey Hill has also released an album of music.

Doug LaneAnd now to add to that list of ever-growing releases (which also includes TWO compilation albums from the organization itself), Doug Lane, a Texas native and current resident of Provo, Utah, has self-released his first single under the moniker of The Real Doug Lane.

As part of the military, Doug Lane had been a part of the Army in the 1st Armored Division. He had been stationed in Germany and deployed in Baghdad. Lane served two tours between 2000 and 2004. During that time, he played the saxophone in the military band; although that was not his first taste of music. And it was while he was deployed that he met his wife of fifteen years.

No longer part of the military, Doug Lane’s civilian job finds him in the Information Technology field where he works as an IT Systems Engineer. And now, ever since gaining the encouragement of Operation: Encore, Lane is now pursuing a career as a singer-songwriter. And that musical career just took a step in the right direction with the release of Lane’s first single. The new single from The Real Doug Lane is entitled “Outlaws, Lovers and Home”.

“Outlaws, Lovers and Home” from The Real Doug Lane contains a gentle Folk-Rock feel to the music. The inclusion of the mandolin on the track brings out the Folk influence to the music while also adding to the easy feel of the track. Like many of the tracks that have come out of the Operation: Encore concept, “Outlaws, Lovers and Home” from The Real Doug Lane consists of lyrics that deal with things that have happened in Lane’s real life after his time in the military. But in this case, the lyrics are very relatable as many of us can find ourselves thinking about things we miss after moving away from the place we used to call home. The track’s lyrics deal with some of the things that Lane misses since he moved out of Texas to build a life for himself and his family in Utah. The slow pace to the music as well as the gentle feel that comes from the mandolin seems to add just a little sadness to Lane’s lyrics as well as his vocals that truly bring the song to life.

While it’s only one track, “Outlaws, Lovers and Home” from The Real Doug Lane gives a good indication of the talent that lies within the singer-songwriter. And this is only the first of several songs from Lane as he is in the process of creating a new EP that will be released in early 2018.

To check out “Outlaws, Lovers and Home” from The Real Doug Lane, click HERE.

For more music from The Real Doug Lane, check out his track from the Operation: Encore album of Monuments called “Faces“.  

 

For more reading about the music from the various members of the organization called Operation Encore, check out the review for the first album, the second release of Monuments, as well as the album reviews for Rachel Harvey HillAndrew Wiscombe, Steve D. Wilson and for Stephen Covell

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stephencovell3For the last dozen years or so, Stephen Covell has been creating music. The Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter has been creating music that is deeply influenced by Folk-Rock. The Folk-Rock style goes well with the writer’s storyteller side of his personality. Because of that, the songs that Covell writes seem very close to stories set to music.

Some of the songs that Stephen Covell includes on his releases have a slight reference to the military in them. That is because Stephen Covell spends part of his time as a musician performing his own material and at other times, Covell is one of the active members of an organization called Operation: Encore, A Veteran Music Project. Operation: Encore is very close to Covell’s heart as the organization helps to support current or ex-military members who are looking for something to do outside of the military world that so many are part of.

As a part of the military, Stephen Covell was a U.S. Army combat medic. As a musician, some of Covell’s songs are very deeply steeped in the civilian mindset; the mindset of enjoying time while back on American soil.

As part of Operation: Encore, Stephen Covell has written several songs that have made their way onto the two current releases that help to promote the music of the artists that are part of the organization. In fact, one of Covell’s tracks ended up becoming the title track of the group’s newest release called Monuments. And along with “Monuments,” one other track from those two compilations is now included in Covell’s newest CD, a five-song EP called Longing for the Hills.

Longing for the Hills by Stephen Covell begins with the track “Ruled by You”. A Rock and Roll track that features an easy, Folk-like pace to the music, “Ruled By You” is a track that finds Covell creating a song that comes across as a love song. The easy pace to the music and the emotional feel of the lyrics helps create a track that feels ready-made for the radio. In fact, “Ruled by You” has enough of a Folk feel to the music that the song seems to have a slight twang to it, making it perfect for “crossover” potential for both Country and Pop-rock radio formats.

The new EP from Stephen Covell continues with the song “We Guards Stood Our Watch”. One of the more personal tracks on the release, “We Guards Stood Our Watch” finds Covell asking why others get to enjoy themselves when those on duty choose to keep watch? The music to the track features a much softer feel to the music. In fact, the almost orchestral feel to the music adds both a slight gentleness to the track and an emotional tug at the heart, as well.

Stephen Covell includes the first of the two Operation: Encore compilation tracks next. Having been included on the organization’s first release, the track “Sand Hills to Sandals” is the perfect track, lyrically, to follow “We Guards Stood Our Watch”. Like the track before it, “Sand Hills to Sandals” deals with military life. However, with this track, Covell focuses on the more upbeat and positive side of life as he sings about being home from overseas and being able to enjoy the things he could not enjoy while on duty; things like going to the beach. While the track does offer a happier side to life than “We Guards Stood Our Watch,” Covell also mentions more sober things like dedicating a toast to those who never made it home. The music to “Sand Hills to Sandals” is once again rather laidback in its nature. The folk music seems to have the best choice for accompanying the semi-sweet lyrics to the track. While “Sand Hills to Sandals” is one of the more laidback tracks on Longing for the Hills, it’s also one of the strongest tracks on the release.

Following the first of the Operation: Encore compilation tracks on Stephen Covell’s new release is the second one entitled “Monuments”. This is the track that was chosen as the title track for the 2017 release from the organization. “Monuments” from Stephen Covell is the hardest rocking track on the singer-songwriter’s new album. Like the other tracks on the five-song release, “Monuments” contains a strong folk influence to the music by way of things like the addition of the mandolin. However, this track finds Covell and the other musicians who helped create the EP adding a lot of Rock and Roll feel to the music. The track comes across as something that may have recorded by The Eagles. The Pop-Rock style of the music on the track makes the song one of the most commercial moments on the release. “Monuments” could easily be the single off of the release. Stephen Covell changes directions completely for the final track on the five-song EP.

The final track of Monuments, “Winter of My Soul,” is an Eric Clapton-inspired track that features a slow-paced Blues-flavored approach. The track includes some very Bluesy guitar playing that would make Clapton proud. While “Winter of My Soul” comes out of nowhere when compared to the rest of the release, the track proves that Stephen Covell has a wide array of influences to draw from. And those helped Covell to create a very strong release from the first note to the last.

His impressive background notwithstanding, Stephen Covell’s new five-song release, Longing for the Hills, is a testimony to the talent that is sometimes hidden within the most unlikely people. And with the five tracks on the new release being different from one song to the next, that talent really shines in this release. Having already released several other albums thus far, this five-song EP would be a great place to discover the talented singer-songwriter named Stephen Covell.

To hear the music of Stephen Covell, check out the song “Monuments“. For more reading about Operation Encore, check out the review for the first album, the second release of Monuments, the review for Rachel Harvey Hill, the review for Andrew Wiscombe and the review of Steve D. Wilson

Operation Encore MonumentsSometimes you can never really know what’s inside you until you are faced with something that challenges you. At that point, a hidden talent may shine through that sets you off in a different direction than the one you were heading in before the challenge rose up. With the help of Operation Encore, many soldiers and their spouses are living new lives having turned to the inner musician that was once hidden within. Thanks to Operation Encore, many soldiers end up turning to music as a form of therapy and/or as a new way of making a living.

Having amassed a nice amount of artists who joined the organization, Operation Encore released its first compilation of original music back in 2014. Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project featured 16 tracks that consisted of music that ranged from Country to Folk to Acoustic Rock. Having had a nice showing with that release, Operation Encore recently compiled a second volume of tracks from many of the same artists from the first album as well as a few new artists that have since joined up. The 2016 version of the project called Operation Encore: Monuments consists of 12 new songs.

Operation Encore: Monuments begins with the newest track from Stephen Covell. Covell kicks off the new album with the title track to the release. “Monuments” is a very strong acoustic rock track that has a bit of influence from The Eagles in the music with a little influence from Simon and Garfunkle in the poetic lyrics of the track. The very commercial sounding track from Stephen Covell is a great track to begin the new edition of the Operation Encore releases.

The second track on the release belongs to one of the new additions to the musicians who brought the last release to life. Logan Vath contributes the song “Once Was” to the album. The track from Vath feels like a combination of something from Tom Waits and Dave Matthews Band. The jazz-rock feel from DMB mixes well with the lyrical style that is very reminiscent of Waits. “Once Was” is a track that is ready-made for radio play.

Another new artist to the Operation Encore series is Andrew Wiscombe. His contribution to the 2016 release is the title track to his album The River, The Lark, The Pine. The Alt/Country track about not fearing others’ opinions is a great song about being true to yourself. The music of the song has a strong Country backbone with a little bit of Rock and Roll thrown in for energy. “The River, The Lark, The Pine” is one track that would fit right in with music found on today’s Country music formats.

Unlike most of the artists on the Operation Encore releases, Rachel Harvey Hill is one artist that belongs to the Operation Encore organization because of her marriage to a soldier. In fact, her track on the Operation Encore: Monuments release was written about her experience of returning home to the United States after being on assignment in the Middle East with her husband. The track “I’m Going Home” would feel right at home with other Country songs from the eighties when the Country music genre had more of a pure Country feel as opposed to the Country/Rock style of today.

Singer-songwriter Steve Wilson is perhaps the artist on the Operation Encore release that has the deepest musical library. Having already written songs for his band The Black Doves, Wilson’s current songs still contain a certain amount of the Black Doves’ Rock and Roll feel while still gaining a style of their own. Steve Wilson’s latest composition of “The Words” seems to have brought him back to the style he had with the Black Doves. In fact, “The Words” would have felt right at home on the band’s 2007 album of Moments of Clarity. The lyrics about a girl losing herself on stage while singing her songs is the perfect addition to an album created by people who all need that release from time-to-time because of dark memories of war.

One of the founders of Operation Encore, Chris Kurek, is the next artist on the Operation Encore: Monuments release. “Last Goodbye” is a song that blends some Folk influences and some light Rock influences together. The track also shows off the real ensemble feel of the organization as Rachel Harvey Hill helps Kurek by adding her vocals to the track. The results are a song that contains an easy duet feel to the lyrics.

Another founding member of Operation Encore, Robert Raymond, adds his track to the album. Much like Stephen Covell earlier in the album, Raymond creates a track in “Pleased to Meet You” that is more than a little bit influenced by the likes of Simon and Garfunkle as the music feels like something from the duo. The track also seems to seem to be influenced by Jim Croce as the lyrics to “Pleased to Meet You” have the same lyrical approach as those of Croce.

Throughout the twelve tracks that make up the newest release from the Operation Encore collective called Monuments, the various artists on the release have come up songs that create an entire album of music that feels solid from the first track until the last note plays out. And just like the original album, the listener encounters plenty of variety in the tracks. The twelve tracks that make up the album show off the talent of each of the singer-songwriters who have found a new calling in life: to be a musician.

For more information on the artists that make up the latest release from Operation Encore as well as more information on the organization itself, check out their website.

For more reading about Operation Encore, check out the review for the first album, the review for Rachel Harvey Hill, the review for Andrew Wiscombe and the review of Steve D. Wilson.

Andrew WiscombeSalt Lake City’s Andrew Wiscombe is not your average singer-songwriter. In fact, while music had been a part of Wiscombe’s life (he’s Berklee-trained), it wasn’t until he left the military where he had served as an Army sniper in Iraq that music truly played a pivotal part in his life. The introduction of music into Wiscombe’s life was a way for the ex-military officer to help with the PTSD that he had been dealing with since getting out of the service so that he could focus on other things, such as his family life.

Andrew Wiscombe’s style of writing is largely based in folk-rock that will remind many of songs from Bob Dylan… but with a lot more of a personal connection in them. Where Dylan may have sung about the atrocities of war, Andrew Wiscombe lived through them. And that personal connection shows in his music as Wiscombe takes the listener to places where only a person who experienced the real life situations could.

While some of the tracks written by Andrew Wiscombe deal with the heaviness of war, Wiscombe ventures into other directions that are much less uneasy but with just as much intensity to their subject matter. As a matter of fact, Andrew Wiscombe writes his songs with a style that makes each song feel like a real-life story. That realistic songwriting approach can be found on each of Andrew Wiscombe’s CDs.

Having already released Stories from Southpaw and The River, The Lark, The Pine, Andrew Wiscombe is currently promoting a brand new EP. That new release is entitled Indiana. With his previous releases, Andrew Wiscombe created each song with a very minimalistic approach with mainly just his guitar and his harmonica. For the Indiana EP, Wiscombe continued that basic idea but added Ben Carey on bass to help add some depth to the on the release. That additional element gives some of the tracks more body but still allows for a simplistic sound to Wiscombe’s music.

The first track on the new EP from Wiscombe is the song “Jinglin’ Jack”. Based deep in the ideals of Folk music and folklore, “Jinglin’ Jack” finds Wiscombe creating a track that has a very strong talltale approach to the lyrics. The story contained within the lyrics is about a man who comes to town only to be misunderstood by the townsfolk as they come to think something different about the man than the truth would actually come to show. It’s only after they chase him out of town that they realize who the man was. “Jinglin’ Jack” from Wiscombe ends up being a perfect example of “never judge a book by its cover because you’ll probably miss out on something.”

With the next song of “On the Run,” Wiscombe changes up the feel of the music. While most of the material from Wiscombe is very simplistic, this track takes the folk feel of his music and adds a lot of energy to the music of the track. The Folk-Rock track stands out rather loudly because of the energy included on the track which includes an electric guitar to help add to that energy level. The folk-rock song of “On the Run” could easily find its way onto modern-day Country radio formats.

Another track that finds Wiscombe adding Country to his new EP is the release’s title track. “Indiana” features a slow, easy pace to the Country/Folk music. As you listen to the track, you feel as if you’re listening to a story. The storyline deals with the everyday lives of men and women who call Indiana home. The simple feel of the track is what makes it easy to listen to.

The newest release from Andrew Wiscombe comes to an end with a new rendition of perhaps the strongest track off of the album The River, The Lark, The Pine. The track is entitled “Holdin’ a Ghost”. While other songs from Wiscombe’s may deal with stories about other individuals, “Holdin’ a Ghost” is very close to Wiscombe’s life since the title comes from a statement made by his wife Kate. As she held him close, she felt that his mind was a million miles away. It felt as if she had been “holding a ghost”. The emotional tug caused by the lyrics makes the song one of the strongest in Andrew Wiscombe’s personal library. It also helps to bring Indiana to a close on a very strong note.

Indiana from Andrew Wiscombe will be released on June 2nd, 2017. Until then, check out the track “Holdin’ a Ghost“.

As an ex-soldier who turned to music to help with his PTSD, Andrew Wiscombe soon found out about others who were also using music as a way to help cope with the stress that comes from combat. Together, they joined Operation Encore, an organization that helps give ex-military and military spouses a musical outlet to deal with inner demons. The organization also gives its members a new way to make a living. For more information on Operation Encore and everything it’s about, check out the organization’s website.

 

 

Rachel Harvey Hill is a singer-songwriter from Kentucky. It was during her time as a military wife that Hill picked up the guitar and start writing music. Some of the material written by Hill has to do with being apart from the husband as he serves his country in the military. Other points of influence happen to be life and everything that happens within it.

It was back in 2014 that Rachel Harvey Hill contributed to a recording project known as Operation Encore, a project that features military personnel, ex-military personnel and spouses of those currently enlisted. For the 2014 release of Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project, Hill contributed the song “Another Trip Around the Sun,” a track about living with someone who is involved with the military. The track is one of the strongest tracks to be featured on the release. While Rachel is currently working on a new CD featuring her own music, a singer-songwriter album featuring Hill’s songs recorded by other artists is currently available. The album is simply titled Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1.

Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1 features three talented musicians who helped bring the music on the album to life. The featured musicians are: Josh Coffee on fiddle, mandolin and banjo; Eddie Dunlap on steel guitar and Kyle Howard on piano. Together with Rachel Harvey Hill and her guitar, these three musicians are responsible for giving each track its unique personality. While the musicians shape the music of the tracks, several singers helped to complete the tracks on the album. The featured singers for the project are: Tim Harvey (Rachel’s brother), April Jewell, Josh Mills, Trevor Turner and Lane Davis, along with Rachel Harvey Hill herself who sings on three tracks of the album.

The album of Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1 begins with the track “Blue Kentucky Moon”. The country-based track features a very commercial feel to the music. The duet by Tim Harvey and April Jewell creates a very happy track to start off the release. The resulting track would feel right at home on any modern-day Country radio format. April Jewell takes a solo turn on the next track of “Loved Like That”.

While the previous track features a rather happy approach to the lyrics, Rachel Harvey Hill changes the mood on “Loved Like That,” a track about a child going through several stages of her life longing for the fairytale ending. Jewell takes the lyrics of the song and handles them with grace while the piano from Kyle Howard adds just the right amount of emotion to the music. At the same time, the orchestration on the track is as professional as any major label release. The resulting track would be perfect for an artist like Amy Grant who is known for singing songs that contain the type of message contained within this song. Like “Blue Kentucky Moon” before it, “Loved Like That” is another track that should be a single, though it would best fit on a Christian music radio format.

Another song that stands out on the album of Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1 is “Wrong Side of the Street”. Unlike “Loved Like That” that features a completely orchestrated feel to the music, “Wrong Side of the Street” features a more simplistic approach with only an acoustic guitar, a piano and an organ creating the music. That simplistic musical feel is the perfect background for the duet created by Trevor Turner and Lane Davis. The resulting track feels like a pop song that might feature the likes of someone like John Mayer and Gwen Stefani. The track is easily as strong as anything on the radio today. While the album features other people doing songs written by Rachel Harvey Hill, Hill herself does appear on the album. In fact, she performs three songs on the release. One track that needs to be heard is the song “I’m Here, You’re There”. With a minimalistic musical makeup of just one guitar, a piano and a bass viol, the track features a slow, easy tempo with a simplistic quality to the music. That gentle music lends itself well to the lyrics about missing someone.

Rachel Harvey Hill’s current release comes to an end with the one track that will definitely find its way onto another release. “I’m Going Home” is the track that Hill has written to be included on the next Operation Encore album, Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project Vol. 2. Written on the day that Hill learned she would be heading back to the United States after spending time over in Korea, “I’m Going Home” is an upbeat track that makes the listener happy for her and her family as well as others who go through the same thing every day.

Songs by Rachel Harvey Hill Vol. 1, the songwriter album from Rachel Harvey Hill, isn’t so much about the performing talents from the songwriter as it is about her songwriting itself. And since many of the moments contained within the nearly 40 minutes of music could easily be used as singles on radio station formats throughout the country, the album as a whole does an excellent job of showcasing that songwriting talent. While there is a true album of music in the works from Rachel Harvey Hill, this release is an excellent place to familiarize yourself with her before she hits the big time.

To hear just a little of the music from Rachel Harvey Hill, check out the video to the song “Loved Like That“. 

Check out the Operation Encore organization by clicking on this link.

operationencoreYou never know where or when the desire to become a musician will hit. For some, the desire is always there but only is realized once one phase of their lives has come to an end. Many ex-military personnel have the same dreams of making a living as a musician. And that may mean waiting until leaving military service.

For those musicians currently serving or now discharged from service, there is an organization working with veterans and military alike who wish to make music. That organization is called Operation Encore.

Taking some of the musicians within the organization who create their own music, an album of original music was created that incorporates several styles and genres of music. The resulting release of Americana tunes is simply entitled Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project.

Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project contains music from several singer-songwriters with many contributing more than one track to the release. Because of whom the artists are (or had been), the subject matter for every track is mainly about dealing with life as a soldier. While some of the tracks are sadder than others, each track gives some insight into what the songwriter experiences in their daily life.

The Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project release begins with USAF Pilot Rob Raymond’s song entitled “To the Air”. The track features a folk sound with just a little Irish influence to it. The subject matter of a soldier in the depths of battle longing for home is told from several different soldiers’ perspectives as they fight for all they are worth and for those they love. While the subject matter is what it is, the music for the track has a light, upbeat feel to it.

The album continues with one of the most emotional tracks. “Another Trip Around the Sun” from Rachel Harvey Hill is told from the perspective of someone who lives day-to-day to be with the one she loves. The easy feeling of the piano-based music and the emotional lyrics makes for a gentle song with a powerful message.

Stephen Covell seems to be on the same wavelength with Rachel Harvey Hill with his track “Sand Hills to Sandals”. But unlike Hill whose song is about spending time with the one she loves, Covell sings about being able to enjoy life away from the fight and just relax with those he calls friends. The visual of the empty chairs to represent those lost in combat helps to add just a little reminder of what the artists on this album go through every day. The acoustic guitar and light fiddle featured on the track blend together to create an easy folk sound. The track ends up being one of the best songs on the release.

While many of the tracks on The Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project seem to have a folk-like sound, the pace changes a bit with Tom Abbott’s track “In Tent City”. The track features an electric guitar that adds some energy to the track. The folk-rock approach on the track goes well with the reflective lyrics about thinking back to the days of combat when the war was coming to an end. The listener can all but see the pictures that Tom Abbott paints with his words.

Some of the songs on the release find the songwriters recalling certain things. But some, like the song from Christopher Kurek, expose some of the pain soldiers feel. In a song that could remind some of the musical style of the Black Crowes, “Never Be the Same” is a track that finds Kurek singing about living with sights and sounds that he will never escape. The track feels very commercial in its sound and is probably the track that could get played on radio. In fact, it would fit right beside several of the songs from the likes of a band like Pink Floyd who delved into that type subject matter.

Another track that could be considered commercial is from Steve Wilson. “Cold Steel Rain” actually feels the most like a simple rock song. The lyrics of the song do contain a certain amount of anguish that could come from someone who was dealing with things like PTSD. But when taken out of the context of this album, the track simply feels like any of Wilson’s songs that he has written for his band of The Black Doves or for his solo material. Like Christopher Kurek’s song of “Never Be the Same,” the folk-rock of Steve Wilson also has a sound that will remind people of the music of The Black Crowes.

The ukulele that begins the track “Lullaby” from Theresa Denofre sets the song apart from any of the other tracks on the Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project release. The song quickly becomes another track that could easily make its way onto radio. The track’s easy tempo and laidback feel would fit alongside songs like “Ordinary Day” from Vanessa Carlton. With this track, Denofre is one artist on this compilation that needs to be heard.

The Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project album does a wonderful job of getting the word out about the hidden talent that lies within our military personnel and our veterans. With an album that contains 16 tracks, that are many shining moments. Throughout the tracks on the album, there are lyrics of pain, lyrics of joy, even lyrics about looking back. The various tracks on the album allow the listener to be exposed to plenty of new talent that they may never have heard of before. Give the artists on this album a listen and you might discover someone who catches your ear.

For just one example of the type of music found on the Operation Encore: A Veteran Music Project album, click on the link to hear the track “Another Trip Around the Sun” from Rachel Harvey Hill.