U.P. Iraq veteran releases music to process combat memories
Houghton – An Iraq war veteran has released music to process his experiences while in combat.
Jeff Hauswirth dropped an EP, titled “Forever 29,” April 26, The Daily Mining Gazette reported. The six-song EP took more than a decade to make.
“Tomorrow” and “Ballad of Jamie” were written in 2006. This was at a time when Hauswirth, a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Naval Reserves, was called back to active duty. He served as a combat medic in Al Asad, Iraq.
The Houghton High School teacher played the two songs when he came back home at a special event. He had plans of eventually recording the songs, but it was too hard to create for a long time.
“Every time I went to do it, it was like going back to that point in time,” he said. “It wasn’t really fun and games. I just kind of compartmentalized and put it all away for a while.”
The process of making an EP didn’t begin until last summer, when he was accepted into the Veterans Entrepreneurship Program through the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga.
After a financier who spoke at the program linked him to people in Nashville, Hauswirth spent a week making music in Old Hickory, Tennessee, which is the home of producer Michael Flanders, who has a basement studio.
“To hear it at each stage was almost kind of a birth, like ‘OK, here we are,’ ” he said. “And it just grew and grew. The ending, what he came out with, it just blew me away at the quality.”
“Ballad of Jamie” is a tribute to his close friend, medic Jamie Jaenke, who was killed by an explosive.
Hauswirth hopes that listeners will find something positive in it, regardless of whether they served in the military.
“When someone in the service dies, and you’re in that combat situation, you become family,” he said. “Most people have lost family members, very close friends, so maybe for them they can hold onto a piece of that and help them like it helped me to get it out.”