This month we are excited to debut the video for "Got Your Six," from my new album Rifles & Rosary Beads.
I wrote "Got Your Six" with two female veterans, Meghan Counihan and Britney Pfad, who served in the army in Iraq. It was my first veteran co-write, at a retreat center outside of Austin, Texas. I watched as the two women sat next to each other, whispered in each other's ear, and occasionally held each other's arm. They were very close, and I could see that they were family to each other.
I asked them to tell me about their friendship. Did they serve together? Were they battle buddies? They looked at me and said, "We have each other's six."
"What? What's that?" I asked. They were suprised I'd never heard the term. "You know," one soldier said, without emotion. "I've got her back. She's got mine."
"On the battlefield," she explained. "12 o'clock is in front of you, 6 o'clock behind you. To have someone's 6 is to have their back."
To have someone's 6 means you'd die for them. When the full weight of that hit me, I knew I was entering another world, one I knew nothing about. In their world, people die for one another. I understood quickly that a part of their deep bond is survivor's guilt, the aching memory of those they've lost. They carry the weight of that, daily.
They talked, and I listened, watching their body language, and noting the rise and fall of their voices. I took in the stories they told, as well as the ones they could not fully articulate. We sat together for a couple of hours. I took notes. When it got late we called it a night, and I went to my room and tried to mold what they said into a song. I did my best to make sure it conveyed what they felt and believed.
I played the song for them the next morning. They liked it, but pointed out a couple spots where my words were not exactly right. We kept working. They added new ideas. After a few changes, we had it.
When I played their song for them from start to finish, both of their faces opened. Their jaws dropped. Watching them become wide-eyed and filled with wonder hearing their song for the first time, I shared in their delight. We laughed and we high fived. We resonated. We were in sync. We'd written a song that reflected some of a soldier's deepest feelings.
I love this song! Special thanks to Meghan and Britney for being brave enough to share their story!