James Blunt

James Hillier Blount (1974-  ), better known by his stage name James Blunt, is an English singer-songwriter and musician, and former army officer, whose debut album, Back to Bedlam and single releases, including "You're Beautiful" and "Goodbye My Lover", brought him to fame in 2005. His repertoire can be best described as a mix of acoustic-tinged pop, rock and folk. After recording on the independent American label Custard Records, Blunt won two BRIT Awards, two Ivor Novello Awards, and by 2006 was nominated for five Grammy Awards. The following year, he released his second album All the Lost Souls (2007). Blunt's third studio album, Some Kind of Trouble, was released in November 2010.

Blunt was an officer in the Life Guards, a Cavalry regiment of the British Army, and served under NATO in Kosovo during the conflict there in 1999. While posted to Kosovo, Blunt was introduced to the work of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or "Doctors Without Borders"). Since then, Blunt has supported MSF by holding meet-and-greet auctions at many of his concerts.

Because the British Army sponsored his university education, Blunt was obliged to serve a minimum of four years in the armed forces. James stated on an interview in his Back to Bedlam sessions that he chose to join the military as "his Father was pushing for it, so that Blunt could obtain a secure work placement and income". Blunt trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Life Guards, a unit of the Household Cavalry, where he rose to the rank of Captain.  One of his first assignments was to British Army Training Unit Suffield in AlbertaCanada, where his battalion was posted for six months in 1998 to act as the opposing army in combat training exercises.

In 1999, he served as an armored reconnaissance officer in the NATO deployment in Kosovo. Initially assigned to reconnaissance of the Macedonia-Yugoslavia border, Blunt and his unit worked ahead of the front lines directing forces and targeting Serb positions for the NATO bombing campaign. His unit was given the assignment of securing the Pristina International Airport in advance of the 30,000-strong peacekeeping force; the Russian army had moved in and taken control of the airport before his unit's arrival. According to Blunt's own account of the incident he refused to follow orders from NATO command to attack the Russians. There were less intense moments during Blunt's Kosovo assignment, however. Blunt had brought along his guitar, strapped to the outside of his tank. At some places, the peacekeepers would share a meal with hospitable locals, and Blunt would perform. It was while on duty there that he wrote the song "No Bravery". The Scottish television sit-com that is broadcast on BBC Two Scotland and repeated on BBC One, "Gary: Tank Commander", is loosely based on Blunts exploits while serving in the British Army.

A keen skier, Blunt captained the Household Cavalry Alpine Ski Team in VerbierSwitzerland, eventually becoming champion skier of the entire Royal Armoured Corps. He had extended his military service in November 2000, and after an intensive six-month army riding course was posted to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in London, England.  During this posting, Blunt was interviewed about his responsibilities on the television programme "Girls on Top", a series highlighting unusual career choices. He stood guard at the coffin of the Queen Mother during the days of her lying in State and was part of the funeral procession on 9 April 2002.  Blunt left the army on 1 October 2002 having served six years.

Source: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Blunt

 

No Bravery

Blunt’s song uses "he has been here" as a metaphor for war.

There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
Tears drying on their face.
He has been here.
Brothers lie in shallow graves.
Fathers lost without a trace.
A nation blind to their disgrace,
Since he's been here.

And I see no bravery, 
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.

Houses burnt beyond repair.
The smell of death is in the air.
A woman weeping in despair says,
He has been here.
Tracer lighting up the sky.
It's another families‚ turn to die.
A child afraid to even cry out says,
He has been here.

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.

There are children standing here,
Arms outstretched into the sky,
But no one asks the question why,
He has been here.
Old men kneel and accept their fate.
Wives and daughters cut and raped.
A generation drenched in hate.
Yes, he has been here.

And I see no bravery,
No bravery in your eyes anymore.
Only sadness.