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May 31

Darden Smith’s “Angel Flight” Is An Emotional Yet Powerful Song For Our Soldiers

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Darden Smith’s “Angel Flight” is said to be the singer-songwriter’s most personal song of his career.

The Austin native continually redefines what it means to be a musician – creating music for more than four decades already. And in 2013, he recorded a project in Music City with the help of two of Nashville’s most popular musicians – Radney Foster and Jon Randall Stewart.

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The Story Behind The Song

While hankering for ice cream from an Austin institution: Amy’s Ice Cream, Darden Smith met Lt. Col. Jim Nugent, who works for the Texas National Guard Support Foundation. The two quickly got along and grew pretty close. In one of their conversations, Nugent told Smith about the ‘Red River 44’ – a mission in Iraq that killed seven Texas National Guardsmen due to a helicopter crash. It was also at this moment that Smith learned about ‘Angel Flights’ – a term they used to fly the body of a dead soldier back home.

A couple of weeks later, Smith started to think of helping the guys in the Texas National Guard to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And there’s no better way for him to do it than writing a song.

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However, when he’s already “about a verse-and-a-half and a chorus into the song,” Smith found himself completely stuck and “three days overdue.” So, Smith went into Foster and asked him to make the compelling song come to life. And just within thirty minutes, the duo finished the rest of “Angel Flight.”

The powerful track inspired Smith to launch the program called Songwriting With Soldiers to help the men and women in uniform put their life stories to song. 

“Angel Flight” by Darden Smith was included in his fourteenth album, Love Calling – which came out in 2013. You can listen to it in the video below.


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