Carson singer's music showcases Army spouses
March 5, 2009
FORT CARSON, Colo.-A Fort Carson Family member put her experiences into a song that she hopes will help other Army spouses through the stress of deployments and Army life. With "Soldier's Wife," Amy Downing sang the praises of Army spouses at the national level when she made it to the semifinals of Operation Rising Star at Fort Belvoir, Va., in November. The singer and songwriter made it into the top 12 of more than 40 contestants competing from Army installations worldwide.
Although Downing didn't win the competition, which offered a grand prize of a three-song demo recording, she said she was excited about getting her song's message out at the event which was televised worldwide on the Pentagon Channel. "One of my goals is to, obviously, one day, have my name out there," she said. "
But, 'Soldier's Wife' ... kind of explains what we go through as spouses when our husbands or loved ones are gone. My goal for that, if I was to get it recorded, is to have some of the proceeds from that go back into the Army community for scholarships."
Downing has co-written three songs: "Army Wife: League of Extraordinary Women" and "Army Wife Blues" with her friend and fellow Army spouse Stephanie Sharp and "Soldier's Wife" with her husband, Maj. Will Downing, 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
"That was a release for me," said Sharp of co-writing "Army Wife Blues." "We were both kind of fed up. Your first couple of months of a deployment, you think: 'Oh, I can get through this.' By the time month three hits, you're like, 'this is ridiculous.' The other, '(Army Wife:) The League of Extraordinary Women,' my thought behind that one was we are strong women. You can't be a weakling and survive this stuff."
Downing wrote the other song, "Indeed," for her husband. Since her success with Operation Rising Star, she has performed at various events on Fort Carson including a unit ball, the holiday volunteer luncheon, Make a Difference Day and a promotional event at the Fort Carson Post Exchange, she said. While stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., from 2004-2006, she performed with the Bone Canyon Band, a classic rock and country band.
"I had a blast; it was incredible," she said. "I've been in bands since I was in my early 20s - just little local bands. I enjoy performing. I enjoy having a reaction from the crowd and making people dance."
She also got the chance to perform with country-music artist Lee Brice in December when he performed at Alternate Escapes.
"That was a lot of fun," Downing said. "He is an incredible person, really down to earth. I actually thought I would be really nervous. It wasn't intimidating like I thought it would be; it was just a lot of fun."
Downing still hopes to produce a demo recording, mainly to get her songs out to other Army spouses, she said. "I've looked into it, but right now the priority is my Family," Downing said.
"My husband was gone for 15 months, and he just got back. I'd love to get (the songs) out there, and I have three strong songs that I could do a three-song demo with. It costs a lot to get it done."
Downing said her husband is supportive of her music, and, now that his Iraq deployment is over, she hopes to devote more time to her music.
"Family is the most important. A music career would definitely be a strain on your Family life, but he backs me 100 percent on my music. I'd even be happy getting a local band together and jamming every weekend or every other weekend."
She said she hopes that her music helps other Army spouses as they go through the stresses of a deployment.
"There are so many patriotic songs that established artists are doing," Downing said. "All of them are really about the Soldier. There's nothing that really explains how we feel, being who we are. I'm not saying that our Soldiers think we're not as important, but we have a huge role in their careers. I'm a strong Army wife. I'm sad when he goes, but I know how to keep it together. I think there are a lot of spouses that have a hard time with it. If I can minister through my music and help with that, then I've done my job."
Downing's Operation Rising Star videos can be seen at http://risingstar.us.army.mil/video/Carson.html (a capella) and http://risingstar.us.army.mil/video/Carson2.html (accompanied version) "Soldier's Wife" by Amy and Will Downing
(reprinted courtesy of the authors) Four o'clock in the morning His bag's already packed He walks into the kids' room Pats them on the back He leans in close, says goodbye A soft peck on the cheek A tear of pride runs down my face 'Cause I know freedom don't come cheap I'm a Soldier's wife it's what I'm proud to be, yeah And when he's gone, the kids depend on me And when he gets back, we'll get back on track The way things used to be 'Cause I'm a Soldier's wife it's what I'm proud to be Phone calls and letters, can't wait to get them both Missed plays and birthdays; "When's Daddy coming home'" Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by all the daily grind I ask the Lord, "Please don't let me go out of my mind." 'Cause I'm a Soldier's wife, it's what I'm proud to be And when he's gone, the kids depend on me When he gets back we'll get back on track The way things used to be I'm a Soldier's wife it's what I'm proud to be One more day 'til he comes home We've made it another year The excitement and happiness that I have Are overcome with fear What if today is the day I get that call The one we always dread I just give the kids their goodnight kiss And I head off to bed I take a deep breath, Lord I prayed every night Oh, I can't be alone...oh no... And a tear of joy comes down my face I know that God will bring him home 'Cause I'm a Soldier's wife, it's what I'm proud to be And when he's gone the kids depend on me When he gets back we'll get back on track The way things use to be 'Cause I'm a Soldier's wife, it's what I'm proud to be Yeah, I'm a Soldier's wife; it's what I'll always be