NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The idea for Kristy Lee Cook's new single started on the battlefields of the Vietnam War.
The country singer's dad, Larry Cook, would put down his M16 rifle and pick up a pen, translating his emotional experiences into poetry.
Years later, Cook turned her father's words into music, and the result is a moving tribute to veterans called "Airborne Ranger Infantry." It opens with the line: "My daddy was a soldier in a foreign war, but he doesn't like to talk about it anymore."
"My dad had written these poems when he was in the military, and it was really cool because we framed them and we hung them up in the house," she said.
Cook's light guitar tune is touching and features lyrics from her dad's poems like: "I left my best friend lying in a pool of blood, while I crawled away through the brush of mud, if I could choose to go back again, I'd die lying there next to him." It's the lead-off track from her new album due early next year, executive-produced by country powerhouse Jason Aldean.
Together with co-writers Michael Logen and Luke Sheets, 28-year-old Cook brought the poems to life and surprised her dad with the recording, where he is listed as a co-writer.
"He just was like, 'This is the best song ever! It's gonna be huge,'" she said.
Cook was a Top 10 finalist on the seventh season of "American Idol. She released an album in 2008 called "Why Wait" featuring the Top 30 country hit "15 Minutes of Shame."
The music video for her new song features scenes with real veterans while Cook walks through ethereal, floating parachutes. Cook said her mom cried when she read the treatment describing the video shoot.
Her dad also makes a brief appearance, standing stoically by his daughter's side toward the end of the song.
"He's never been in a music video before, and he's so funny, because he thinking he's this big actor now, like 'I need a limo,' and all this stuff," she said, laughing. "It's really funny. I'm like, 'Dad, you're in a music video. You're making a cameo. Dad, you're not getting a limo.'"
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