September 18, 2014
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Musicians in tune with military, war issues
Hannes Nose
SONG OF HOPE: Musicians often team up to sing about good causes, and that’s the case for Kathryn F. Hoxie. After bassist Curtis P. Lambert contacted her about collaborating on a song tribute to war veterans and their families, she happily offered her vocals.

The impacts of war aren’t pleasant, especially for soldiers and their families. That’s why a handful of musicians are recording a song, “One More G.I.” in honor of them.

It all started about eight years ago when Betty McCaffrey became frustrated that former President George H. W. Bush ordered the press not to photograph G.I. caskets when being offloaded from planes on their way to cemeteries.

“He didn’t want Americans to be aware of how many were dying in Iraq,” McCaffrey said via email. “When his mother, Barbara, was questioned about how she felt about that, she said, ‘I don’t want to waste my beautiful mind on that kind of thing.’ It infuriated me, so I sat down and wrote the lyrics to help get rid of the fury I felt.”

A year or so later, McCaffrey met bassist Curtis P. Lambert II, an Army veteran who immediately wanted to help with the song. Although he never fought in a war, the song “hits home” for him.

“Being in the military, you see things that are wrong, on all different levels, and these stories are never told,” said Lambert, who grew up in the East Side of Providence but moved to Warwick for junior high and high school. He graduated from Warwick Vets in 1982, and enlisted shortly after. He was discharged as an E-5 in 1988. These days, he’s living in Cranston doing studio work, and often filling in at gigs for Massachusetts-based bands. “I’ve had friends from Warwick that I grew up with that had to leave their families and go to war. It’s sad what they face. There are so many things that are covered up.”

Lambert originally crafted the music to the lyrics, and recorded the song with his former band, Bear Kat Grooves.

They sent the final cut to a local news reporter, who told them the song was a bit too heavy.

Taking the advice, Lambert decided to re-write it, and contacted Massachusetts singer-songwriter Jillian Jensen, who agreed to record the vocals. But shortly after, Jensen became an overnight sensation on “X-Factor,” a reality television show on FOX about musicians and vocalists seeking a recording contract. Considering her obligations for the show, she wasn’t able to help.

That’s when Kathryn F. Hoxie came into the picture. She and Lambert met via mutual friends on Facebook, and he then Googled her in November. They decided to collaborate, and are working to record and promote the song.

While Lambert is in Rhode Island, Hoxie, a 1999 Toll Gate graduate, manages a recording studio in the Bronx, where she resides. Despite the distance, they are working on their respective parts.

“When I heard the song, I got on board with it because I really think it’s an incredibly important song and it’s very well written,” she said. “The music is beautiful.”

Recently, Hoxie, who plays drums and began formally training as a vocalist with acclaimed local singer-songwriter and music producer Gerry Granahan before she was 10, teamed up with pianist Nesetari “Nessee” Pinnock to record a preliminary piano version. Coincidently, Hoxie is also writing a song for her friend’s father, who is a veteran. He was a first responder for Sept. 11, and recently passed away from cancer, which was believed to have been caused by smoke inhaled at Ground Zero.

“Then, this song came into my lap and I said, ‘This is an incredible opportunity to do what I’m already doing, but it’s already written,’” she said. “I feel really honored that [Lambert] reached out to me to be a part of this project.”

For Hoxie, the song is meaningful for personal reasons, as her grandfather, the late J. Ward Hoxie, is a World War II veteran. She has passionate feelings about war, noting that she believes no one really wins.

However, because it exists, and because there are courageous men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line, she feels their stories need to be told. Music, she said, is the perfect way.

“Music creates a universal language for all of us to hear, regardless of whether we can understand it or relate to it,” said Hoxie. “Music touches us in a way that allows us to understand in a way that almost nothing else can, and helps them get through whatever they are going through in their own personal experiences.”

The song needs to be heard, she said, because the media often overlooks the personal experiences troops face. The lyrics emphasize that while there’s news coverage of the war, the personal aftermath that people experience, and the consequences of it, are left out of the news.

“It’s the silent part of the story,” she said. “I really hope and pray that this song can [offer peace and comfort] to people who have experienced loss due to the war, to other veterans, soldiers, families and friends who are even now facing their loved ones being deployed.”

As noted, Hoxie views music as having a healing element for people, herself included. She said the reason she’s a musician and a singer-songwriter has been part of her survival, as she lived out of her car for four months to complete her album, “Light Shines Through Me,” which was released in November 2011.

“I gave up everything – I sold everything I owned to be able to afford to finish my project,” Hoxie said. “I raised $5,155 in 32 days through Kickstarter, but I ran out of money to complete the project and get all the production together.”

Nevertheless, she ended up pulling it off. The album is available on iTunes, Amazon.com and Spotify. Now, she’s set to release two music videos, one of which will debut later this month, as well as audition for “The Voice,” a televised singing competition on NBC. The audition will take place in February.

“It’s been an incredible journey, and it’s been worth it,” she said.

"ONE MORE G.I."

When they took him off the plane,

there was no way to hide the pain.

The marines so young, strong and tall,

carried him, careful not to fall.

There were no crowds, no throng to see

nobody but his dad and me.

Our boy’s next stop a grave now dug,

oh, to give him one more hug.

With honors he would soon be lain

to rest, but not his parents’ pain.

There were no crowds, no throng to see

nobody but his dad and me.

He fell eight days ago or more,

I can’t remember, can’t keep score.

A car bomb hit him and three pals

two of them, American gals

There were no crowds to see

nobody but his dad and me.

What’s one more G.I., one more kid,

make sure he’s hidden, shut the lid.

But always in his mother’s soul

the pain goes on to take its toll.

Where were the crowds, the TV crews?

Ordered not to report this news.


Comments
1 comment on this item

Betty McCaffrey's Grandson James Maranda just 21yrs old is serving proudly in Afghanistan now....thank God he has been kept safe...and hopefully be reunited with his grandmother really soon...

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