By Zach Collier
Those who attended the Muse Music Songwriter Showdown this year were lucky enough to experience the music of singer/songwriters Andrew Wiscombe and Doug Lane. Lane’s performances make great use of dynamics, and Wiscombe has the wonderful ability to accompany himself onstage with guitar, harmonica, and percussive instruments simultaneously. The two share common traits: both are talented musicians, both have a wicked sense of humor – and both are Army veterans.
Lane was a Specialist (E-4) in the Army. He was stationed in Germany with the 1st Armored Division Band as a saxophonist and was deployed to the Baghdad International Airport for 15 months in 2003 and 2004. He met his wife – a french horn player – in the Army band. He also experienced a powerful conversion during his military service, and serves as a pastor today.
Wiscombe was a Sergeant in the Army and ended up running a Sniper Section. He served as a Sniper for seven years, and his time in active duty left a lasting impact on his music. His experience using music to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder received significant attention from KSL last December (read the story here), and his heartfelt music beautifully captures how war can change a man and the effect that can have on his relationships.
Doug Lane understands that concept well. “In some ways, you never leave the military. Or it doesn’t leave you. Not sure which,” he says. This shared understanding creates a bond between servicemen and women that only those who experience it can understand. “I love my brothers and sisters. So, yes, there’s a sense in which I want to tell stories that honor and help them. I think there are some experiences and emotions that are unique to military service. I needed to write and sing about them as much as I need to hear them written and sung.”
This love for fellow soldiers and the desire to honor and serve them through music is what attracted Wiscombe and Lane to Operation Encore. Operation Encore is a collaborative music project that showcases the talents of veterans and military members. Founded by Robert Raymond, Chris Kurek and Erik Brine, Operation Encore seeks out singer/songwriters from military and veteran communities all across the nation and brings them together to create original music.
“They found my stuff and liked it and asked if I would be interested in joining,” says Wiscombe. “It means so much to be considered for this project. As a writer you always want your music to be appealing and touch others so it’s great when someone likes it and has an appreciation for it. It only adds to that when it comes from people who have a military and music background, as they understand your soul a little bit more. It is an honor to be included and to join great artists like Logan Vath and Doug Lane. Doug is a great artist and friend and it is awesome that two people in this Utah scene are being put on this national compilation.”
Operation Encore is currently raising funding for their second album, Operation Encore, Vol 2., via Kickstarter. Their goal is to raise $25,000 dollars to cover studio time, mixing, mastering, distribution, and the lodging and travel costs for musicians invited to collaborate on the project. The album is set to be released Veteran’s Day Weekend, 2016 and will feature tracks from Lane and Wiscombe.
“I absolutely love the guys that run Operation Encore,” says Lane. “Amazing men who love servicemen – past and present – and incredible musicians too.”
Make sure to give Operation Encore, Vol 1. a listen on Spotify here. You can learn more about Operation Encore on their official website and by watching their official Kickstarter video below. You can donate to the campaign here.