Big Machine Label Group and Creativets Release Veteran-Written Track “Bullets And Angels” 

In honor of Memorial Day, Big Machine Label Group and nonprofit Creativets have joined forces to release the new song “Bullets And Angels.” 

Videos by American Songwriter

The tribute track dedicated to the resilient armed forces is part of the Nashville-based organization’s campaign, which provides veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries with opportunities to use music to heal. 

Country newcomer Dan Smalley co-wrote “Bullets And Angels” alongside veterans Chris Bickcel, Michael King, and Brian White. The truthful lyrics are destined to tug at heartstrings nationwide, as they share what it was like to place their lives on the line to protect others. The ballad also describes how they leaned into their faith to persevere forward despite the hardships. 

You learn a lot about yourself when you’re runnin’ straight through hell, sings Smalley. Now I know to hold on to love / Yeah now I know there’s a higher power above / Liftin’ you up and pourin’ out the strength to take the devil down with just a prayer / With bullets and angels everywhere.

King shared that placing his thoughts down on paper gave him a different perspective on his experience on the battlefield. He hopes the impactful song encourages veterans to seek help if needed. 

“The writing of the song helped me tell some of my story in a unique way,” shares King in a statement. “I look at music very differently now. Every song tells a story. When I pick up my guitar, all problems go away. With the help of Creativets, I have learned to play and sing the whole song of ‘Bullets And Angels.’ I hope it helps veterans not give in to their demons and never be afraid to ask for help. I’m beyond thankful for this program and everyone involved.”

Smalley explained that they wrote the track backstage at Nashville’s legendary Grand Ole Opry. He said the writing process was surprisingly easy, as the storyline came naturally and their chemistry was off–charts.

“This writing process was unlike any other,” Smalley recalled.“For starters, the writing room was backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. So, the spirit of all our heroes was palpable. The connection I had with Mike, Chris, and Brian made me feel like God was in the room, like we were supposed to be there for Mike to speak through. Tears were shed, and truths were told. It was truly an unforgettable experience.”

CreatiVets has helped over 1,000 veterans since it came about in 2013. To date, nearly 400 veterans have participated in their songwriting program. Their main goal is to end “veteran suicide,” by offering coping and therapeutic tools to manage their trauma. Music giant Big Machine Label Group has contributed to its philanthropic efforts through Scott and Sandi Borchetta’s Music Has Value Fund and Big Machine Music. 

Song Cover Courtesy of Big Machine Label Group

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