Franklin-based entertainment company Outdoor Music has teamed with the "American Hero Experience" TV show and the NBC Sports Network to help make a dream come true for Markus Fox, an aspiring singer/songwriter and former active-duty Marine, by bringing Fox to Music City to record his song, "Sacrifices," which will be used periodically on the new show.
Per a Feb. 23 missive from Outdoor Music, producers of the show were overwhelmed with emails about Markus and "Sacrifices" during their search for a new theme song. In turn, Fox and his father were first invited to St. Petersburg, Fla., to discuss using his song for the show.
Then, when the two arrived at the Guy Harvey Outpost, the producers surprised Fox with the news that they had arranged a three-day, dream-come-true fishing trip with "Hit and Run" fishing charters. Fox's "Experience" didn't stop there, however.
On the final day of the shoot, locally based Richard Prather, GM for Outdoor Music Group, who had been posing as a production assistant for the show, was introduced to Fox and revealed the second part of his "American Hero Experience."
"Spending a day fishing with Markus's dad, David, played a key role in the decision to bring Markus to Nashville," Prather told Examiner.com on Feb. 23. "It was truly a sweet experience getting to know Markus from his father's perspective."
Thereafter, Prather said, Fox was invited to visit Nashville, where earlier this month he performed at the famed Puckett's downtown, sharing the stage with hit songwriters Wynn Varble, Don Poythress, Karen Staley and Brad Cotter. At the show, Fox was presented with a new Gibson Guitar by company president and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz.
"Richard (Prather) and I went down this road, hoping we'd be a blessing to Markus by helping him fulfill his dream of professionally recording 'Sacrifices' in a legendary Nashville studio," said Outdoor Music's Craig Brinks. "But, in the end, we were the ones who were blessed ... blessed by his spirit, his talent and his sacrifice. This has been an incredible experience for us too. An honor."
More about Markus Fox and 'American Hero Experience'
Fox, who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, had his father ship his guitar to a combat zone, and his music not only became therapy for his time away from his Alabama home, it also lifted the spirits of his fellow Marines.
During his time on the water taping the episode, Fox discussed post-traumatic stress disorder and the tragic story of a friend who committed suicide just two days prior to returning home from his tour of duty.
Fox's episode will air on "American Hero Experience" at Monday, Feb. 25, at 1:30 p.m. (EST) and repeat at 1 p.m. (EST) Thursday, Feb. 28, on the NBC Sports Network. The "Sacrifices" single is available now at CD Baby and will be available on iTunes beginning Feb. 25.
"American Hero Experience” introduces modern-day American heroes who share inspirational stories, as they discover the unique therapy that outdoor recreation provides while on ultimate experiences with pro athletes and celebrities in world-class destinations.
The show kicked off Jan. 10 on the NBC Sports Network and is co-hosted by disabled Gulf War Vet Sgt. Joe Kowalski (USMC, Ret.) and Keith Alan, who also serves as executive producer of the show. When Kowalski realized how fishing was helping him deal with PTSD, he figured it could help other veterans, so he started a fishing outreach program.
Per show producers, Kowalski's service to the country as a Marine and his dedication to his fellow veterans and returning service members made him a natural fit for a television series dedicated to recognizing heroes, creating awareness for their needs and illustrating the therapeutic value fishing provides.
Video bonus: To sample a clip of Fox singing "Sacrifices" in the studio, please access the clip embedded with this post.