Over a decade ago, Becky Warren made an auspicious debut as part of the critically lauded Boston alt-country outfit the Great Unknowns. But soon, threatened to get in the way of musical success. Warren fell in love and married a soldier, only to lose him a mere week later when he was deployed to Iraq. Over the following years, she struggled with their long distance relationship, and felt his pain acutely when he returned home with PTSD, the trauma of the experience forcing her into an extended hiatus from singing and songwriting. “The whole time I wasn’t writing, it was very painful for me,” she shared with Elmore. “I couldn’t even really listen to music, because it made me feel terrible. I was thinking about everything I was missing.” Eventually, the two came to a mutual divorce agreement and Warren slowly took up her pen, finding that she could ease the pain and come alive again by releasing her soul into the music. With her fellow Great Unknowns scattered across the country, she began a career as a solo artist, and it wasn’t long before she won both the prestigious Merlefest Songwriting Competition in 2014 and the Kerrville New Folk competition in 2015.
Now, Warren is gearing up to release her debut solo LP, War Surplus, which she recorded in Nashville at Welcome to 1979 with a talented cast of session players including Paul Niehaus (Iron & Wine, Calexico, Justin Townes Earle), Dillon Napier (Margo Price) and Adam Wakefield (2nd place on The Voice). The concept album, which she whittled down from over thirty cuts down to 12, tells a story that may sound familiar—Scott and June fall in love and marry, but he’s soon deployed to Iraq, and returns with PTSD. By fictionalizing her own narrative, she hopes to open up to others who may have struggled with similar issues. “I want to do everything I can to make them feel like they’re not invisible,” Warren said. “And maybe at the same time, the record will lead some people to learn more about veterans’ issues, and take some positive action.”
Today, Elmore is premiering “I Miss You,” an exquisitely crafted, slow-burning Americana ballad in which June yearns for her faraway soldier. The ethereal cry of pedal steel matches the track’s slow, waltzing tempo to create an unmistakable sense of longing, carried by Warren’s solid, syrupy croon. Her gift for crafting keenly moving lyrics is on full display, line after line ringing with a plaintive, blue-collar poetry; “misery is working the graveyard shift… god I miss you like you wouldn’t believe,” she drawls.
War Surplus will be released on October 14th. Connect with Becky Warren via her website and listen to “I Miss You” below.