Liner Notes

                       

Soldier hugging MomSoldier Boy

On June 17, 2005 my first born son, Hoss, was born. I was so happy, truly over joyed to have a son. During those first few hours of his life in the hospital I just kept holding him. I did on occasion let my wife hold him and the doctors from time to time would take him from me for a quick check up. But then it was right back into daddy's arm where he belonged. About the fourth hour of his life my wife wanted to sleep some, so I again joyfully took baby Hoss from her and held him in my arms while both he and mom deservedly slept. As they slept I just stood in the room rocking our baby boy back and forth while occasionally looking out the window or glancing at the TV. And it was with one of those glances at the TV that I experienced one of those moments in life that I will never forget.
 
As I held my newborn son in my arms, I looked up at the television that was broadcasting a news clip of a mother who had just recently found out that her son had been killed in action. Through tears this brave woman expressed how proud she was of her fallen son and what a joy it was to have had him as long as she had and how she was going to hold onto the memories of his life. 
I was in shock, here I am holding my newborn son in my arms and this woman will never get to hold her baby boy again.... I kept thinking that 19 or 20 years before, she was holding him in her arms, seeing his eyes for the first time... Experiencing that wonderful joy of having a son...and wondering what he would become.
And, now, this. It wasn't supposed to be this way. This event left me emotionally drained for two days. I didn't say much, I was mad and quietly grieving for the woman that I saw on TV. I honestly felt like I needed to say something; do something; I just didn't know what to do. Then on the third day it came to me what I needed to do. With my wife and son now home with me, I went to my music studio and in about an hour of time the song Soldier Boy was complete.

Though done, it took me two and a half months to sing it. It was just too emotional. If I just looked at the first line of the music, I would start to cry. It would be several years later before I could take it to the studio and sing it the way it deserved to be sung. Even then I broke down and cried.
Songs come to writers through infinite means and inspirations. Sometimes they come from a beautiful sunset or the smile on a child's face. This song however came through a mother tears. And I am forever grateful to her and her son and to all of the fallen sons and daughters and their families for the freedom that my family and I and this nation share.
 
Thank you so very much.

--- Steven


                                                       Valerie's Song (She is Love)

In the Fall of 2004, I went to the home of John Sferra (the drummer) to drop some music off to him. (John and I had just recently got to know each other). John wasn't home at the time, but his wife Valerie was and she took the music from me and asked me to come in and talk for awhile. 
Valerie, who was clearly receiving chemo therapy, made no mention of illness to me, but rather she spoke of love and the beautiful, meaningful things of life.
I was so moved by Valerie’s sincerity during the one and only hour I ever got to spend with her, that I was immediately inspired to write what would become her song, Valerie’s Song (She Is Love)...a song about selflessness beauty and love.
Sadly, Valerie passed a few months later. My hopes and prayers for her recovery didn't come to pass, but the hour I spent with her I will never forget. This song is a testament to a life well lived and a life that will not be forgotten.

Valerie, this song is for you and John. Two of the sweetest people I have ever met in my life... and I'm so glad I did!

--Steven


Photo of John Denver High Colorado

Oh, you better believe it! I wrote this song with the singer/songwriter John Denver very much on my heart. His music, often painted beautiful pictures of the West, to such a degree that I had to go and see it for myself. And when I did, I fell in love…most specifically, with the Rockies in the high country of Colorado. (Yeah, John, now I understand why you were always singing about this place).
Although I have been to Colorado numerous times, it was in the fall of 2012, while my family and I were staying in Steamboat Springs, that I stepped out onto the balcony of our townhouse at the Olympian and it struck me. Without a guitar in hand, the song was instantly there. It was the beautiful, Yampa River below, and the view of Emerald Mountain bursting with golden aspens that inspired this song, done and complete in a millisecond. 
John, this song will always be for you. I wish we could have sung it together. You left us far too soon, and I miss you. The goodness of your soul and that beautiful, pure, tenor voice I will forever cherish. Thank you so very much for making this a better place.

--Steven


 

Todd Lodwick & Steven Burton

I Will Live
  
As a lifelong athlete and former off road motorcycle racer, I have always admired the enormous skill and ability that it takes to compete in any sport at an elite level. I don't know that the dedication that it takes for an athlete to perform at these levels is always appreciated, as these gifted athletes can make their endeavors look easy… almost effortless. The reality is that what these athletes are making look so easy has come at an enormous price that involves unstoppable determination and sacrifice.

 
In the fall of 2012, I got to work out with one of these elite athletes and experience, first hand, just how amazingly capable one of these highly trained individuals are. It was a chance meeting at the Steamboat Springs, Colorado Starbucks, where a nice older gentleman, named Dennis Lodwick, who saw me with my kids, came over and started talking with us. After about five minutes, he said, “Wait a minute,” to us and shortly returned with his son, Todd Lodwick, who happened to be there also. He introduced us to Todd by saying, “This is my son, Todd, who won a Silver Medal in the last Olympics.” I thought, "What? No kidding!" Todd, who is just as nice of a guy as his dad, said hi to me and the kids and welcomed us to Colorado and then went and sat down.

The kids and I were stoked that we got to meet an Olympian! After about 10 minutes, we decided to leave and before we made it out the door, Todd stopped me and asked if I would like to do some cross training sometime. I, of course, said, “Yes!” and we set a time to do what Todd called Manic training. I didn't know what Manic training was, but thought the name sounded cool and I was definitely in.
That night I did a Google search of Todd and was shocked to find out that he is the USA’ s most decorated skier ever. He's been to five Olympics, has numerous medals and now I'm going to go and cross training with this guy! Cool!
A couple of days later, I showed up at the Manic training building, headed by Graham Muir. Todd and about 12 other people in really good shape were there. Not much was said and shortly Graham warmed us up and let us have it. Manic training is cyclic training. Sprint as fast as you can. Jump, as high as  you can. Lift a weight as many times as you can. All in 60 seconds intervals. Rest for 20 Seconds and do it again, for an hour nonstop. The pain this brings on is a thing of beauty. I've never worked out so hard. Todd led the way and I would follow trying to keep up. The cadence that Todd kept was nothing less than spectacular. I'm a good athlete and I just could not keep his pace!
I could certainly see why Todd has accomplished what he has. It's not just because of the natural athletic talent that he was born with, but rather I could see a greater resource, that rare human quality where somebody is willing to push their self to absolute failure, to sharpen their skill, to better their craft… somebody that is willing to train and sacrifice to fulfill the call placed on their life. I got to see that unstoppable burning drive and desire to be the best you can be... I got to see firsthand the Olympic spirit... And let me tell you, it's nothing less than magnificently impressive and deeply inspiring!
So, Todd, this song is for you my friend and all of the other Olympians in Steamboat Springs, Colorado that share that unstoppable quality that burns from within and allows you to be who you were called to be..... it allows you to live!
---Steve