I just recieved a public affairs announcement, from headquarters down here.
Go visit Luke here, buy a recording, and write him a note!
The Story Behind “American By God’s Amazing Grace”
Writers: Luke Stricklin/JR Shultz (FOB Warrior, Baghdad, Iraq December 5 th, 2004)
This song is a reminder to all of us that there are many things worse than what we experience in any given day. It is a soldier’s interpretation of his experiences and what he viewed through his own eyes while in Iraq. It didn’t take long for him to realize just how good the quality of life the average American has. Responding to the first question that he was asked when he emailed or called home, Luke Stricklin replied with a song.
Since his return home in March 2005, it is where all conversations lead. The responses he gives to the questions that people are asking him and the words in this song direct folks to the fact that being born American has advantages. These are advantages that were established through the many years and trials that this country has stood strong through.
This song tells the story of a compassionate young man, a Husband, a Soldier proud to have served with fellow Americans, in an effort to give others the hope that someday they will be free to enjoy the same liberties that we are free to enjoy daily.
In His Own Words
“I joined the National Guard when I was seventeen, went to boot camp in Columbus Georgia at Fort Benning home of the infantry. I was an infantry soldier attached to 1/153 Infantry. I was in boot camp during 9/11 and I can’t begin to describe the feelings I felt. I graduated and came back to Arkansas, and went to work and school. I met my wife in January 2002 and the rest is history.
I was deployed in September of 2003 in support of operation Iraqi Freedom. I spent 18 months on active duty, spending time in Fort Hood TX and Fort Polk Louisiana. During my 12 months in Baghdad, Iraq, I bought a guitar off the streets of Baghdad. It was no Martin but … it was playable. JR Shultz the (co-writer), Nick Brown and I spent as much time as we could together drinking coffee and playing music. Then we would head out on patrol and come back and do it all over again. It wasn’t very often that we got that much time off but when we did we made good use of it.
Every one at home always asked what it was like over there. And I would tell them it was hot and change the subject. Mom always said I wasn’t telling her the truth, which I wasn’t. I would tell her everything was just fine. Ashley my wife couldn’t hear me talk about it, we just talked about anything else.
So I thought about writing a song that could answer there questions. I looked at the bottom of my boots one day and it all began. They were worn out - I wore the same pair of boots everyday for at least 12 hours, for about 14 months so they were worn. JR put in his thoughts and we had a song. We recorded it on JR’s laptop with a sound recording program using a $10 mike I bought at Best Buy before I left home.
When I emailed the song home, I had no idea what type of things would transpire. It was first picked up by KTCS (Ft Smith AR). Soon KMAG picked up on it. When they started playing it, they were blown away by the calls. He then forwarded on to Big D and Bubba a nationally syndicated radio show based in Nashville. Big D and Bubba contacted my folks for an interview. With the interview set up via emails, I called from Iraq. The response was huge. When I returned stateside in March of 2005 the phone calls and emails were coming in from TV and radio stations all over the country. Steady requests for TV and radio interviews. In April I was given the opportunity to go to the recording studio for the first time in my life. “American by God’s Amazing Grace” was my first recording.
Soon after it was recorded we were contacted by other national outlets like The Discovery Channel and Fox and Friends morning show. I was on the river fishing with my step-dad when my cell phone rang. A lady from Fox after a quick introduction asked if I was familiar with that show, I replied yes, I still have buddies in Iraq and I tune in to all the major news networks continuously to know what is going on with them. She asked where I was, and I told her I was fishing on the river. She chuckled and asked when I would be coming to New York next. I said well I’m from Arkansas and I don’t get up that way. Then she asked if I would be willing to come in and do the show. I agreed to go to New York and do that show. Then I got a call from a movie producer wanting to use “American by God’s Amazing Grace” in an upcoming movie. Which I have been asked not to disclose the theme or the possible stars, but I can say I was blown away by the known Stars in it. June 11 th, 2005 marks the final sessions to complete my debut self titled album.
©2005 Pacific/Time Records
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