By Maria McClureMay 13, 2019
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky - Terra Bella opens the Week of the Eagles concert 6 p.m. May 18 at Fort Campbell's Division Parade Field, followed by Eric Paslay and headliner Jake Owen. Family-friendly preconcert activities begin at 5 p.m.
Week of the Eagles is a semi-annual event honoring 101st Airborne Division's legacy of service that continues to this day. It is a time to celebrate the division's rich history with Soldiers, veterans, Families and the community while strengthening bonds of camaraderie.
"Week of the Eagles is our opportunity to open our arms to the local community and celebrate Fort Campbell and the 101st," said Col. Joseph P. Kuchan, Fort Campbell garrison commander. "We'll celebrate the lineage and legacy of heroism of the 101st while we pay tribute to our veterans and the sacrifice of our Soldiers and their Families. It's a great week."
Terra Bella returns to Fort Campbell after their Fourth of July 2018 concert performance.
"It was somewhat of a dream come true," said Martina Otterbeck, of the husband and wife duo. "We always have wanted to play for our military and for the families of the people who serve this country. To actually go on base and do it was just something that we thought was unreachable for us right now because we are independent artists and still chasing our dream."
When she walked out on stage, Otterbeck said, the parade field looked as if it went on for miles.
"It was incredible," she said. "The response we got from everyone there just really felt like it answered that question of 'Am I doing the right thing?' or 'Am I supposed to be here?' Right in that moment the answer was absolutely yes."
Terra Bella's portion of the concert will be an acoustic set filled with new songs, Joseph Costa said.
"It is going to be a little more intimate," Costa said. "Martina and I love doing shows like this. ... When it is just the two of us we have a lot of freedom and we are able to connect with the crowd in a different way."
Growing up country
Otterbeck and Costa grew up in the Central Valley of California, home to cattle ranching and farming, as well as Bakersfield, aka Nashville West, from where a genre of country music was born in the late 1950s. Influenced by rock and roll, the Bakersfield Sound was filled with electric instrumentation including steel guitars and very different from the music coming out of Nashville, Tennessee, at the time. It was a sound pioneered by Wynn Stewart, made famous by country music legends like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, and embraced by American rock bands like the Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival. It also is the music of Otterbeck's and Costa's childhood.
"Growing up a lot of my family members, including my mom, always had country music on the radio when we traveled places - that is when I first fell in love with it," Costa said.
After a friend of his introduced him to Merle Haggard's music, Costa knew he wanted to be a musician.
"The moment I heard Merle Haggard I knew I wanted to be a country music singer-songwriter and I have just basically been pursuing that ever since," he said.
Although Otterbeck's father retired from the Navy before she was born, he brought that military discipline to her childhood home. The military rigor also included what genre of music was listened to in the home.
"My very first memory of music is Waylon Jennings on the vinyl record thanks to my dad playing it," she said. "Country music was really all I was allowed to listen to until I got to hang out with my friends away from my parents."
Those early childhood memories continue to influence the music Terra Bella makes today, Costa said.
"We are maybe rooted heavier in traditional country music than most folks are these days," he said. "That is because of the old school way we grew up - growing up on farms, on horseback and things like that. Also, I think that helped shape our work ethic, we are not ones to sit around and wait for stuff to happen. We are proactive in our careers, we aren't afraid to be the ones to do the work."
Taking a proactive approach to their music career, the couple moved to Nashville six years ago.
"We absolutely love it," Otterbeck said. "Moving to Nashville was one of the best decisions we could have ever made not only for our career, but also as a married couple. The way of life out there, it reminds us of home - especially the Central Valley."
The couple has immersed themselves into the music community in Nashville. Costa - and Otterbeck on occasion - collaborates with various songwriters and takes part in writing sessions at least three, four times a week, he said.
"The whole vibe of Nashville is collaborative," Costa said. "What is so amazing about it is artists come together and songwriters come together to make work that is better than I think either one could do on their own. It is a real team effort."
The name Terra Bella represents the couple's rural agricultural California roots, Otterbeck said. Terra Bella is a small farming community near the town of Visalia where Costa grew up.
"Terra Bella means beautiful earth in just about every language, so what better way to represent the Central Valley of California and where we come from than having a name like that," Otterbeck said.
Costa and Otterbeck are excited to return to Fort Campbell for another performance to celebrate the division's special week along with the Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division and their Families.
"We really can't wait to come back," Otterbeck said of the Week of the Eagles concert. "It will be great," Costa added.
Along with the concert, Week of the Eagles 2019 includes Military Survivor Appreciation Week with its poignant Boots on the Ground display that opens with a 3 p.m. May 17 ceremony at division headquarters. Run for the Fallen, honoring those who gave their lives in service to the nation since Sept. 11, 2001, begins 7:30 a.m. May 18 at Town Center Park. Retiree Appreciation Day opens 10 a.m. May 18 at the Soldier Support Center and includes a health fair. Other events include an open house hosted at The Sabalauski Air Assault School beginning 10 a.m. May 18 along with a showcase of the division's unmatched capabilities featuring an air assault demonstration at 1:30 p.m. On May 22, a Memorial Day ceremony and honor to Gold Star Families and military survivors takes place 4 p.m. at division headquarters. The weeklong celebration concludes with a division review with an honorary veterans formation 9:30 a.m. May 23 at division parade field. For a complete listing of Week of the Eagles events visit https://home.army.mil/campbell/index.php.
All Week of the Eagles events are open to the public. Those without a military ID must follow normal gate entry procedures through T.C. Freeman Gate or Gate 7. To gain access, drivers must present their vehicle registration, proof of insurance and a valid driver license, all other vehicle occupants who are 16 or older must have a valid photo ID.