After The War, released today through ABC Music/Universal Music, was initiated by Dr Brendan Nelson (Director of the Australian War Memorial) and recorded at Rancom St Studios in Sydney with Garth Porter (Producer) – the same team that produced the ARIA highest selling album of 2015, Spirit of the Anzacs.
The album commemorates and honours the men and women who are serving, and have served, our country; and coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Armistice on 11th November 1918, the end of The Great War. The album spans from Gallipoli and Passchendaele, to the sinking of HMAS Canberra in 1942 in the waters off Savo Island, to the Battle of Long Tan in a rubber plantation in Vietnam, and the blurred and dusty battle lines of Afghanistan.
As Dr Nelson describes it, “After the War is a stunning musical tribute to every Australian who has given their all for our nation in the uniform of Navy, Army and Airforce. From the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 single to the title track, these are songs of love, friendship, loyalty and the triumph of the human spirit in the face of tough times. This is music to inspire, make us proud and remind us of what it means to be an Australian.”
The songs have been brought to life by the contributions of talented and generous artists who have all donated their royalties to veteran services under the direction of the Australian War Memorial. These proceeds will be fully committed to the Australian War Memorial to support initiatives, exhibitions and programs in support of young veterans and their families.
Artists featured include Lee Kernaghan, Wes Carr, John Schumann, Glenn Shorrock, The Wolfe Brothers, Lance Corporal Elizabeth Smith, Darren Percival, Garth Porter, The Royal Australian Navy Band, Sisters In Arms, Fred Smith and members of the Polyphony Choir.
TRACK BY TRACK IN BRIEF
1) After The War – Wes Carr and Lance Corporal Elizabeth Smith
There have been countless examples of partners and families whose lives have been forever changed by the experience caused by war. When re-united, both having changed from the person they were when they parted; they bravely face the challenges of home-coming. The strains on families and close ones can be immense, sometimes too much, as they resume their lives together.
2) I Am Invictus – Lee Kernaghan
The official song of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. The Invictus Games are an international sporting event for wounded, injured and ill veterans and active service personnel. Founded by Prince Harry in 2014 and named after the inspiring poem Invictus, meaning unconquerable, by William Ernest Henley. The Invictus Games Sydney 2018 commence October 20.
3) Oh Passchendaele – Royal Australian Navy Band
Oh Passchendaele was inspired by a remarkable 40 page letter written by Private Leonard Hart of the 2nd Battalion, Otago Regiment which described the action at Passchendaele on 12th Oct 1917. Hart’s letter was taken by a friend on leave to England, and posted back to his family in New Zealand, thus avoiding the army censor. At Passchendaele, Australia lost 15,654, and 5,300 New Zealanders fell there, either killed, wounded or missing. A darkest of days in the life of two fledgling nations.
4) On The Left – Sisters In Arms
(Lance Corporal Elizabeth Smith, Able Seaman Leigh Robke and Aircraftwoman Samantha Morley)
Only the actual recipient of a medal has the right to wear them on the left. Many female veterans are wrongly challenged in person or via social media about wearing medals on the left side. Despite rightly receiving them they are accused of wearing them on the wrong side; leading some female veterans to stop attending commemorative events.
5) Hero – Lee Kernaghan
Inspired by the poem Hero by Keegan Locke, 12 year old son of Mathew Locke. Matthew was killed by Taliban gunfire at Chora, 2007. At the funeral of Mathew Locke, his wife Leigh read the poem; a legacy of the love and respect of his family. Keegan at 18 years old followed in his father’s footsteps when he joined the army.
6) When The War Is Over – Field, See & Mason
The Cold Chisel classic written by drummer Steve Prestwich which speaks of the what it might be like to return from the Vietnam war, “When the war is over got to start again….” This re-invented interpretation is performed by Melbourne trio Field, See and Mason.
7) I Once Was A Soldier – Garth Porter
This song gathers together some personal memories of growing up with a family tradition of military service, and recollections of boy scouts, school cadets and RNZAF Town Squadron Anzac Day marches down the main street of Hamilton, New Zealand, to the cenotaph on the banks of the Waikato River. Both of Porter’s Grandfathers served in WWI. In WWII Garth’s uncle, Private Richard Carter served in the Third New Zealand Division, 35th Battalion in the Pacific Islands, and his father, Flying Officer Ivan Porter RNZAF, served with RAF 210 Squadron Coastal Command at Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands on U-Boat surveillance. Garth Porter dedicates this song to them, and to his good mate Forward Scout Allen May who was up front at the Battle of Long Tan, August 18, 1966.
8) Better Now – Darren Percival
For all the stories of homecoming struggles, there are many who have faced the challenge, and regardless of the obstacles, are winning the battles at home. With courage and determination and perhaps a little help along the way; the traumatic memories are stored away, and veterans gradually get back to a ‘normal’ life, having overcome many emotional and physical hardships along the way.
9) Tom Traubert’s Blues/Waltzing Matilda – Lee Kernaghan and John Schumann
The ‘Waltzing’ (travelling on foot) with ‘Matilda’ (your swag) has over the last 100 years been the destination of many returning soldiers; even now sleeping rough is too often a part of the story for some vets when they get back on home soil. It has never been easy to just ‘walk back in’ after experiencing the trauma of war.
10) Coming Home – Glenn Shorrock
The stories of this song trace a hundred years of Australians at war; from the raging firefight on the shores of Gallipoli, through WWII, Korea and Vietnam, to the bitter and longest ever Australian war in Afghanistan. This is a welcome home, which for some can be the hardest part.
11) The Ode Arr – Lance Corporal Elizabeth Smith and singers from the Polyphony Choir.
The original words were written by Lawrence Binyon in his poem, For The Fallen. Garth Porter adapted the music of Panis Angelicus composed by Cesar Franck in 1872.
12) Only 19 – John Schumann
The iconic Australian Vietnam War song.
13) Hey Brother – The Wolfe Brothers
Inspired by Private Paul Warren, who lost a leg, and a best mate, Ben Renaudo in Afghanistan.
14) Say A Prayer – Fred Smith and the Spooky Men’s Chorale
A story of the sinking of the HMAS Canberra at the Battle of Savo Island, August 1942.
15) On Every Anzac Day – John Schumann and the Vagabond Crew