Allen co-wrote the touching tribute, "I'll Win Mine", with former soldier Alicia Khim in September during the "Songwriters for Soldiers Retreat" hosted by Soldiers and Families Embraced and The Beat of Life. The song shares some of the challenging experiences Alicia and her two kids have faced in Fort Campbell, Ky., while waiting for husband/father Sak Khim to return from overseas deployments.
"Alicia is a remarkable wife, mother and veteran who has chosen to serve her fellow soldiers with a degree in counseling," said Allen, whose latest single, "Someday Is Today", is currently in the top 30 of the STS Main Country Chart. "I was honored to have the opportunity to write with her and to hear her story. I admire both non-profit organizations for bringing us all together."
Allen praised Alicia and Sak Khim as dedicated parents who are proud to serve their country. Sak has been deployed to Iraq seven times. The couple's children, Campbelle and Rileigh, are named after bases where the soldiers were stationed. Alicia was forced to leave the military prematurely because of early onset Rheumatoid Arthritis. Now a student at APSU, she is helping soldiers recover from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury as an intern for SAFE.
"Writing the song with Alicia was a wonderful experience," Allen added. "After lunch, we began narrowing down and focusing on the outcome. It was a very emotional process that continued to build throughout the day as Alicia's words became a musical tribute to her life. The tune has gone through many re-writes because we realized we had a great hook and wanted to make it accessible for radio. Everyone needs to hear it."
Allen will share the stage with more than a dozen hit songwriters who participated in the "Songwriters for Solders" project. The concert, which will be emceed by singer-songwriter David Bradley, will occur from 7-9 p.m. at APSU's Sharon Mabry Concert Hall (Mass Communication Building), 266 Marion St. in Clarksville. Tickets are $15 for the public and $5 for students, military personnel and veterans. Proceeds from the concert will help SAFE provide free counseling and support for the active duty, veterans and their families. To order tickets, visit http://www.singingtheirstories.charityhappenings.org/ .
"The song 'I'll Win Mine' is special because the retreat was so special," noted Allen, who has performed at venues ranging from the White House to the Ryman Auditorium. "I have always known that music is one of the greatest healers for so many issues we face. Many soldiers shared experiences and horrific instances for the first time. Their songs began their healing process. Many could not share their story with their spouses and loved ones, so they kept them bottled up. That was what was torturing them and causing the PTSD symptoms. I think the songwriters walked away with so much knowledge and gratitude we would have never known or experienced on such a personal level."
Allen's new album, "Someday Is Today", features 11 original songs inspired by real-life experiences. To learn more about the artist and hear music from the CD, visit http://www.TheAmyAllen.com.