“The heartbeat of the song ‘The Legend’ represents the collective military experience powerfully.” – Taya Kyle
Most mornings at Shotshow in January I would sit alone at the bar in The Grand Luxe cafe for breakfast. I met some great people this way that were sitting next to me and I made new lifelong friends. One person in particular that I sat next to was Jim Kinsey. Of course the normal banter was exchanged of what we each do in the industry and what we were doing there at Shotshow. But as the conversation progressed, Jim opened up that not only does he produce a tv show, he also writes music. He mentioned one of the songs he had written that would be released soon and what had inspired it. Before I listened to it I could feel his passion and pride behind the song. The story behind it and the people that came together out of the wood works to make it happen was inspiring and emotional. This song, The Legend, is a tribute to American sniper Chris Kyle. Approved by Chris’ wife Taya and their son, the music and lyrics of The Legend which was officially released on February 22, will carry on the legacy of Chris Kyle and will raise money for the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation. There were actually two songs released on the same date that were projects of Jim’s. To bring much needed attention to the PTSD epidemic of our vets, he also released “What Say You”. To benefit Mission 22, founded by Tom Spooner, it is a call to action to save the 22 vets a day that take their own lives. I normally only write about guns and competitions in this blog. This entire encounter of meeting Jim and the amazing story behind the serendipitous connections of all of the people behind this music moved me so much. I hope you find it as inspirational as I have and that you go buy and listen to the songs and support the charities they represent. For more details about Jim, the Foundation and the official press release about the music you can go to www.chriskylefoundation.org
First of all allow me to introduce Jim Kinsey to you. Jim is an award winning executive producer of Skull Bound TV which airs on The Sportsman’s Channel. His girlfriend Jana Waller is the awesome host of this hunting and conservation awareness show. And I found out we both work with the same great company Nosler out of Oregon!
At the same time as traveling the world for the show he has been writing and producing music. As well as the “The Legend” and “What Say You” he has several other songs he co-wrote. “Open The Cage”, “Gladiator” and “Overcome” (Kryptek Overcome) can all be found on ITunes, Amazon and Pandora. As Jim and I were talking over breakfast he handed me his headphones to listen to his song The Legend. The lyrics were very powerful and I felt a true tribute to Chris. Of course I had to make him tell me the whole story of how it all came about. I am sure he has told this story a thousand times but I could tell his passion for it had not wavered.
Jim met Chris at a Kryptek party in Vegas in 2013. Both of them were on the Kryptek pro-staff. Chris signed his book, American Sniper, for Jim and after a long conversation that evening had planned a hunting trip together for the near future. That trip would never happen. Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield were murdered at the range only two weeks later. A year later American Sniper the movie hit theaters. Chris’ story of his service and survival, meeting him in person, his book, the movie and his struggles with PTSD like so many other vets and the tragedy that ended his life moved Jim to write down lyrics. It happened all at once too. He was driving to Shotshow in 2015 with Jana and words were streaming through his head. He pulled over and asked Jana to drive so he could write them down. Jim was able to get the lyrics to Chris’ wife Taya at Shot. She stopped him in the hallway and gave him a hug stating she loved them. She approved of Jim’s mission to put out a song to carry on Chris’ legacy and to raise money for the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation. But it was 9 months later that that mission finally took off.
Serendipity? Nine months later Jim was attending the Battle Born Banquet put on by Bryan Marshall, founder of Wishes For Warriors. Across the country from Maine, rap artist Jason Fougere heard about this event and at the last minute flew out to attend and support our veterans. The t-shirt Jason was wearing “Fight Music” inspired a conversation between he and Jim. It turned out Jason wrote music for WFW for their promo reels. This was the first time Jim handed over his lyrics to someone in almost a year. He trusted Jason. Jason brought them home with him and a week later contacted Jim with the first draft of The Legend. The final lyrics brought Taya and her son to tears. Her son had not cried since Chris’ funeral. Next came the contributions from producers Mike Hartnett out of Nashville and WLPWR (Willpower) from Atlanta. Here is a video of the collaboration. Making The Beat for The Legend . Hartnett and WLPWR both reached out to hip-hop, multi platinum rap artist Warren Anderson Mathis. Also known as Bubba Sparxxx, both tracks, “The Legend” and “What Say You” were laid down and finally turned over to Skidd Mills for mixing. No shortage of crazy talent among all of these people, Skidd started Skiddco Music LLC in 2006 in Nashville and has quite the list of artists he has worked with. It took a year but Jim’s emotional project came to life. All of these people came together for the same purpose and passion.
Jason Fougere – “Call it destiny, but I believe rap music bridges gaps, especially for our young service men and women returning home who have a lot on their minds, and meeting Jim connected a passionate writer to a passionate artist.”
WLPWR – “I got involved because I wanted to be in support of giving PTSD victims and their families a voice. I also wanted to be part of a song that gives hope.”
Mike Hartnett – “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of both of these songs. Being a musician I don’t have much to offer but my music. I feel fortunate that I can help in this regard. If I can evoke human emotion while spreading awareness, hopefully it will save lives.”
Bubba Sparxxx – “I couldn’t imagine being part of a project that was more meaningful. In these unsettling times, when we as Americans have so many reasons to be tempted to live our lives in fear, the life and legacy of Chris Kyle is a much needed symbol of hope, resilience and courage.” …”Plus, with both of these projects having the opportunity to reach millions of people and shine a bright light on a horrible affliction like PTSD, as ell as the many veterans/families of veterans impacted by it, I felt a very powerful call to get on board.”
Tom Spooner – “(What Say You) gives a voice to what every combat veteran is struggling from inside. The only weapon that is strong enough for us to survive this ‘Internal Battle’ is the relentless love and support of our nation’s people.”
Michael Connors – “Jim sent me the lyrics for ‘What Say You’ and told me about his friend Tom Spooner, the founder of Mission 22. I immediately gravitate to them and wanted to be part of the song. The chance to do something positive with music is the only reason I take the guitar from the bedroom to the stage.”
Skidd Mills – “When I was asked to be a part of this project, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I am honored and humbled to be a small part. I see great things ahead.”
And there are still two more songs yet to be released that Jim has been working on. To be released on May 3rd are “Remember The Fallen” and “Red Platoon”. The song Red Platoon releases the same date as the book written by Clinton Romesha. A first hand account of the thirteen hour battle of Keating. Thank you to Jim and all of the above artists for joining forces to shed light on this epidemic of PTSD among our veterans. Music is the one venue all people can come together.
JIM KINSEY – “I feel that there’s a higher power at work and I’m merely the messenger. What touches our hearts, touches the soul and in music that is the key to success.”