Zeke Vanderpool

My Songs

 
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Often times people want to hear the "back story" behind the song, so I've included an element of that with each song below. There are only a few of them right now but I'll add to the list as I record them. In truth, it takes resources to record songs on a professional level, so any donations above and beyond the price of each song will be dedicated to that process. You'll see that the song purchase allows you to pay as little or as much as you want. No hurt feelings either way, but know that ANY amount is greatly appreciated! 

I am currently in the process of building a recording studio in my back yard (yeah, a little crazy but why not?...) and I have a book full of songs, with several currently in "the works". And of course, there are always a couple swimming around in my head. In reality, I never thought I'd take a plunge like this with my music. Most of my songs were shared around a campfire with my military brothers and a mason jar full of Tennessee "spring water". But due to the feedback, requests and support that I've received from Veterans, service members, family and others, I would be wrong not to give it a shot. So here goes; these are the first few recorded songs that represent My Red, White and Blue...  

 
 

God's Grace

I wrote "God's Grace" in the summer of 2011, shortly after my last deployment to Iraq. I was looking back over two decades of military service, and trying to process the good, the bad and all the in-between. There was so much that I was grateful for and proud to have been a part of. Amazing places. Incredible people. Missions accomplished despite adversity and unfavorable odds.

Then there was the hard part... Brothers lost. Survivors guilt. The physical and emotional toll that was left on my body, mind and heart. I guess this song was my way of assimilating and voicing much of this as I grappled with it. It is the song that is most requested among my military brothers when we get together and it always brings a quiet toast to the ones that we lost and all that we've gained. In many ways it is our "mantra".  

 
 

 
 

Between a Laugh and a Tear

I wrote "Between a Laugh and a Tear" while deployed to Iraq in late summer of 2010. I never know just how the song writing process is going to go for me; some songs sort of "write themselves", while others take a long while to complete. I started  this song not long after we arrived "in-country". I kind of hit a wall with it about half way through and put it off for a long while. Our mission traffic got crazy--we were running back to back Counter Terrorism missions in the desert heat for several weeks straight and we were all completely exhausted. It was eat, maybe get a few hours sleep, and then go back to work.

We were returning to our compound late one night after completing one such mission and learned that a friend (fellow soldier) in another location had been killed by sniper fire. I remember going to my room in that old concrete building, picking up my guitar and finishing the song right then and there. What had built up behind that wall came spilling out all at once. My close friend in the next room heard what was going on and walked through my door. He just looked at me and said, "Brother, I love that song". I recorded it for him a year later after he lost his left leg and nearly his life to an IED in Afghanistan.

My good friends Jeff and Paul Parrott recorded the song for me in their studio. When I explained the story behind the song, they just said "Get over here and let's get to work". Paul added the amazing solo toward the end of the song--just banged it out the first time through. I'm so thankful to be surrounded by such awesome and patriotic people!

 

 
 
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All money from the sale of this song will go to support The Heroes Journey and the amazing work they are doing with our Veterans.

Restless Heart

In early 2015 I attended a funeral for a man that I had served with for many years. He was a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran, a mentor to many of us in our military unit, and had become an Army Chaplain along the path of his military service. Half way through the service, the pastor revealed that Bill's death had been a suicide. That revelation hit us like a freight train.

Later that evening I stood around a campfire with some of my dearest friends. One of them (who happened to be a Battalion Commander at the time) looked at me through watery eyes and said, "Zeke, you've got to write a song that speaks to the suicide issue among our troops". His unit had lost two young soldiers to suicide in the previous year in the wake of a deployment to Iraq. 

Thus began the journey that is this song. It took me two years to write "Restless Heart". I had to dive into a dark place to try and get my hands around it. The first year ended in a failed attempt and I hit the delete button on everything I had done up to that point, I just didn't feel like I had done it justice. At the end of the second year, I had reached that same point but for some reason, instead of deleting the song I sent it to a great friend named Scott Mann (who founded the non-profit organization "The Heroes Journey"). Scott called me from where he was working in Washington D.C. and told me that he had listened to the song while on break, looking out over Arlington National Cemetery. He said, "Zeke, you are coming to Tampa to record this in our studio". 

Scott and his incredible team brought this thing to life. Wes Dearth added an awesome guitar solo and produced the song, along side Mark Prator on drums, and Brian Sutherland on the cello. Then Scott took it to the next level and made an amazing suicide outreach video for Veterans, folding in the story of a brave young Marine named Andrew Einstein. Here's the video: Restless Heart Video

As hard as this song was to write, I am thankful to have been a part of it. Through the darkness and self doubt, something emerged that is collectively bigger than any one part of it. And the most important part; it is making a difference for those who are struggling. Thanks to all involved, especially Scott Mann and his foundation, The Heroes Journey!

 

i HOPE TO ADD TO THIS LIST SOON...