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perhaps not conservative rock, but still noteworthy


This may be oh-so-last-October to some, but James Blunt is a British singer-songwriter whose brilliant debut album “Back to Bedlam” showcases his haunting voice and vivid lyrical imagery.  You’ve probably heard the singles “High” or “You’re Beautiful” at some point if you go into any Starbucks — it always seems to be playing in there.  Anyway, what’s interesting is that James comes from a military family and served four years in the British Army, rising to the rank of Captain and seeing action in Kosovo, among other places.  From his website

Take “No Bravery”, the song that closes his debut album, “Back to Bedlam”, for instance: It was written in Kosovo in 1999, while James was a reconnaissance officer in the British army. On patrol around Pristina, he kept his guitar bolted to the outside of his tank. But in quieter moments, it came out, as he wrote about life as a 22-year-old peacekeeper in the aftermath of one of the decade’s bloodiest civil wars. The rest of his unit ordered him to keep the noise down as he wrote and sang in the post-midnight stillness. He didn’t keep the noise down. “‘No Bravery’ is the only complete song I wrote in Kosovo. I wrote it lying by my tank in my sleeping bag with my boots on. You had to sleep with your boots on.”

“No Bravery” has been co-opted by some anti-Iraq war activists, but for his part Blunt said in an interview that technically he could be called back to service at any time, and “if I get a call out I would be very willing to go – unless I’ve got a big gig that night.”


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