Songwriter and frequent OBX visitor Jamie Trent is celebrating extra big this holiday season: His song, “Bullet Holes in the Sky,” co-written with Nashville-based Mary Gauthier, was named No. 11 on Esquire Magazine’s Best Country songs of 2018.
Gautier received a 2018 Grammy nomination for her album “Rifles and Rosary Beads,” a collaboration of 11-cuts, each co-written with wounded combat veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, many with invisible wounds, including Trent.
“This entire week has been pretty crazy, in general, regarding Mary’s album, ‘Rifles and Rosary Beads,’ being nominated for a Grammy, and then you have Esquire naming it the No. 11 country song for the year,” says Trent, who lives in Lynchburg, Virginia, and was stationed at Norfolk when served as an E4 Radioman with the U.S. Navy in Operation Desert Storm.
“Bullet Holes in the Sky” is a sobering look at the plight of “forgotten” m through the eyes of a wounded vet watching the Veteran’s Day parade from his seat inside a Nashville, Tennessee, Waffle House.
“On the surface, it may seem like just another collection of ‘soldier songs,’ but this song and her album are much, much bigger than both her or me: It’s a collection of songs about the human connection, death, spiritual awareness, and so much more.”
“Bullet Holes in the Sky” was the first single released off album, and it’s received rave reviews from both veterans and music critics.
“"To me, there are many messages in this song,” says U.S. Marine Corporal
Mark Moynahan, retired. “I accept that the nightmares will never fully go away, but with the show of support on Veterans Day — and the grace of God — they are less frequent. Semper FI. Live free, Die well."
The genesis of “Rifles and Rosary Beads” begins with the Austin, Texas-based SongwritingWith:Soldiers. The nonprofit organization, which was founded by 30-year veteran singer-songwriter Darden Smith — matches professional songwriters with active-duty service members, veterans and their families. Both Trent and Gautier volunteer with the group.
“For an album of this type — and a song with this subject content — to be able to break through the ‘commercial’ barrier, well, I almost find it unbelievable,” he says. “This album and this song give me hope that we are creating awareness well beyond the military and veteran community.”
Trent has been coming to the Outer Banks from his home in Virginia since he was 5, when his extended family would rent out a beach house for their vacation. His brother Joe moved to Kitty Hawk in 2015 after retiring from the U.S. Armed Forces.
Trent, his wife Tammy, and their 5-year-old granddaughter, Kardigan — whom the couple legally adopted — are laying the groundwork for a permanent move to the Outer Banks.
Trent’s turned his five decades-long love affair with the barrier island to pen two songs that resonated with listeners: a love ballad titled “The Outer Banks and You” and “Destination Ocracoke,” which he co-wrote with David Kent.
“The Outer Banks and You” was picked up by Southern Shores Realty for use in a national commercial.
Trent says he and his family are looking forward to their planned return to the Outer Banks in 2019.
“We’ll take several long weekend trips in the spring, and we will be staying in Ocracoke for a week in the summer,” Trent says.