In 2016, Becky Warren released War Surplus. The record tells the story about an Iraq War veteran named Scott and his girlfriend June. And, it won unanimous praise as an alt-country gem.
The lead track “Call Me Sometime” won the 2014 Merlefest Songwriting Competition. And then, the 2015 Kerrville New Folk competition, putting Warren in company with writers like Gillian Welch, Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle.
Now, Warren has more to the story. She’s releasing the deluxe version of War Surplus, which features a reimagined track listing and four additional songs. Today, we’re premiering “Full Of Bourbon” from the new record.
“A big part of my motivation for writing War Surplus was to help people without military connections understand that veterans and their families are people just like the rest of us,” Warren tells Wide Open Country. “Listeners know from listening to the album that drinking becomes a problem for Scott. An attempt to self-treat his PTSD.”
Warren makes the connection with the clever chorus tag, in which she sings, “When I’m full of bourbon and empty of myself.”
“But I don’t think you have to experience PTSD or even have a problem with drinking to understand what it’s like to want to drink because it turns you into someone slightly different,” Warren adds. “Hopefully this song helps easy listeners make the jump from that to empathy for Scott.”
Listen to “Full Of Bourbon” below.
Though War Surplus is largely fiction, Warren drew from very real experiences. She married a military man in 2005, only one week before he deployed to Iraq. Similar to the album’s Scott, her husband returned with PTSD.
Four difficult years later, the couple agreed to split amicably. Warren’s experiences and emotions inform the album, but not in a judgmental way. In fact, quite the opposite. Warren uses a deft pen and catchy hooks to draw parallels between Scott and June and every other human couple just trying to figure it out.
Instead of making this a story about two broken people, it’s a story about anybody going through a difficult time. Which, in many cases, is most of us.
For those who didn’t get a chance to check out War Surplus when it came out in 2016, don’t sleep on the deluxe edition. With any luck, Warren should and could be one of Americana’s next big stars.
The deluxe edition of War Surplus comes out Sept. 1.