We do a lot of Hollywood-bashing here, but when celebrities do something right, they deserve full credit and praise. John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting has brought together many musicians to produce a CD for the troops (hat tip – Blackfive). Here’s the lowdown:
Just in time for the holidays, 13 major recording artists have created a musical “Thank You” for the troops.
“CD for the Troops” will be available for anyone with a valid military identification card to download at no cost from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service Web site, www.aafes.com, beginning tomorrow.
…Mitch Bainwol, chief executive officer of the Recording Industry Association of America, agreed. “This is an historic project. It shows that a music community that has many voices speaks with just one when it comes to support for men and women in uniform,” he said in a news release from the Defense Department’s America Supports You program. “We are proud to come together to help offer a compilation with some of today’s best-selling artists and songs. We hope his album will be music to the ears of our troops.”
America Supports You is a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel serving at home and abroad.
Getting this project, which combined the music of Billy Joel, Brooks & Dunn, the Goo Goo Dolls, Jewel, Josh Groban, Los Lonely Boys, Melissa Ethridge, the Neville Brothers, Sarah McLachlan, the Lt. Dan Band, Montgomery Gentry, The Fray, and Five For Fighting, to troops’ ears took true teamwork. John Ondrasik, the singer-songwriter who performs under the stage name “Five For Fighting,” was intimately involved with making sure that happened.
“Beyond the artists and managers, all the record companies and publishers had to approve free downloads to over 1.5 million potential users,” he said. “(It) also could not have been achieved without the financial, logistical, and emotional support of (the Recording Industry Association of America), AAFES, TriWest Health Care Alliance, America Supports You, Media Base and Sony Manufacturing.”
Ondrasik spearheaded the CD after being asked to write a forward and contribute a song to a compilation of local bands sending music to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I thought it was a wonderful gesture,” he said, explaining his belief that music is a unique medium that can affect morale and mental health. “I started making a few calls to friends of mine, and six months later we have the CD for the troops.”
Ondrasik has been a staunch supporter of the troops. I was lucky to attend one of his concerts earlier this spring, where he saluted active-duty troops and veterans in the audience, several of whom he had personally invited after meeting them during a visit to Guantanamo Bay. As I noted after the concert:
The most emotional moment of the night: When he told the crowd the back story behind “Two Lights,” about a young American soldier headed to Iraq and his Vietnam Vet father, and shared an update–turns out the father recently e-mailed him to let him know that the son is alive and well. (Flashback: Check out The Glenn and Helen Show interview with Ondrasik in case you missed it. Victor Davis Hanson played an integral part in “Two Lights.”)
Ondrasik’s message for the troops upon the release of the new CD:
“No matter how the troops hear the music, Ondrasik said he hopes it “inspires, motivates, provides an avenue for reflection, or simply distracts you from a mission few can imagine, much less undertake,” he said.
“If anything, let each tune be a small piece of home to carry you forward,” he said to the troops. “Thank you for all you do, and feel free to shoot me an e-mail with requests for ‘CD for the Troops II.’”
Spread the word. Support the entertainers who support the troops!