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Military experiences shape band’s music

Rebekah Wilson • May 24, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Adam Baldwin, a veteran of the Iraqi conflict and a native of Kingsport, and his band Seventeen Stories seek to inspire optimism in the lives of their listeners.

“Our message that we communicate in lots of songs is that no matter how dark or bad your life may seem ... that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you just have to reach for it, and that is what we are trying to do as a band, to reach people,” said Baldwin.

He explained how his time in the military influenced the message he shares in his music.

”A lot of the past experiences that you have in the military and the people you meet help you write music and tell a story — a down home story that people can understand,” he said.

“You meet all walks of life in the military. You go everywhere. I’ve been to the Middle East, to Africa to states in the U.S. It allows you to have a lot of material that you can write with that people can relate to.”

He said playing at the Vietnam Veterans’ Homecoming at the Appalachian Fairgrounds earlier this month was special, and the band hopes to play at it again.

His father Sam, 62, a Vietnam veteran and member of In Country Vietnam Motorcycle Club, an event sponsor, said it was a wonderful concert and they were proud to be a part of it.

“He’s come a long way,” said Sam Baldwin. “When he was 16 years old, he picked up his mom’s guitar and started playing and hasn’t put it down yet.”

The group formed in February 2011 and has undergone some changes in membership and band names. Current members are Lance Jones (lead vocals and guitar), Baldwin (guitar), Daniel Hoggatt (bass) and Chris Bridges (drums).

Each member contributes to instrumental composition, and Jones is the primary lyricist.

“We all just sit in a room and write,” said Baldwin.

The name Seventeen Stories was the name of a song towards the beginning of the band’s career. The song has not been recorded, but the members liked the title and decided to use it as their name.The band’s first album is called “Dream Again,” and the group is currently working on the second.Baldwin described Seventeen Stories’ sound as similar to 3 Doors Down and U2.“We have a huge range of influences,” he said. “We try to combine those to create something unique and use each member’s input. It’s still very tight and radio-friendly.” He said they have played between 25 and 30 shows and hope to continue traveling, meeting people and establishing their fan base.“We’ve met a lot of people at shows and things, and whether it be military or relationship troubles, we kind of write our songs about that,” he said. “They may sound sad but there’s a silver lining in each song, and something there to take away.”

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