When Jason Moon returned from his service in Iraq in 2004, he was, in his own words, broken. A musician since the age of 13, Moon found himself unable to write songs. He suffered from anxiety, insomnia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2008, he attempted suicide and survived.
Writing songs was an important part of Moon’s healing process. He wrote a song for a documentary in which he was featured, titled On the bridge, then started traveling and singing for “anyone who cares.”
A conversation turned her healing into what would one day become Warrior Songs.
âI met a woman who had been raped in the Navy, and she said, ‘If someone could help me turn my trauma into a song, I could have a similar healing to yours. Moon said.
âIt was the ‘a-ha’ moment. I looked around and didn’t see other organizations doing that, so I started collecting veterans stories and songs. “
Warrior Songs debut album was released in 2016 and was titled “If You Have to Ask”. Moon paired veterans who wanted to tell their stories with professional musicians, songwriters and producers to create the album. Their second album, “Women at War”, was released in 2018.
On Sunday, Moon’s non-profit Warrior Songs will release their third album of Veterans Stories Turned into Music at the Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee.
The new album is titled “The Last Thing We Ever Do” and focuses specifically on the experiences of Vietnam veterans. The album contains songs such as “Let It Go”, about the guilt of a veteran surviving after the death of a friend in his arms, and “Seeds of Peace”, a song about reconciliation that was recorded. In Vietnam.
“Face Down”, the third track from the upcoming album, took the veteran and the musician nearly two years to write together. Songwriter Saji Villoth said the process was filled with “acts of faith” on the part of everyone involved. It deals with a veteran’s experience of sexual assault while serving in Vietnam.
âThis is the story of a veteran, so you have to be extremely sensitive and respectful of their wishes, especially with this veteran in particular,â Villoth said. âMuch of the process has been focused on him, not wanting to be defined by trauma. For a veteran to tell his story and see all the support people are putting into it, it might help validate the path to recovery. healing.”
Performance was also an important part of Moon’s healing.
In front of a small gathering in Pewaukee’s South Park on Wednesday night, Moon performed a little stand-up comedy, many original songs and most importantly the vulnerable story of his time in Iraq and the PTSD that plagued him for years after his release. . .
âWhen I’m asked what happened (in Iraq), it triggers my PTSD, because I think about it in a linear fashion,â Moon said. âBut then you can look at the emotional pain behind that reaction and take some of it out. I also noticed that it was externalized. I could hold the CD and look at the track and think, ‘it’s outside of me.’ , and he started to feel lighter. “
Warrior Songs has no financial interest in the albums and offers free art retreats for veterans, where they can paint, write songs, or do whatever they see fit to express their emotions through creativity.
âPTSD makes us feel defeated. Trauma hits you and we can get through it with music,â Moon said. “Everyone knows that music can just touch. Identifying with people and putting it into songs can inspire other veterans in the same position.”
Moon is far from done with this project – the Warrior Songs website lists album releases planned through 2030 with a focus on Indigenous, LGBTQ +, and disabled veterans, among others.
For more information
To learn more about Warrior Songs, visit this link.
For more details on Sunday’s event, visit this link.