"My boyfriend, Marine captain David T. Russell, just got sent to Iraq for the third time," says singer/songwriter Jenn Grinels. "There are a couple of songs on the new album that deal with his past deployments. He happens to be highly decorated -- Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart -- which he doesn't like to talk about, but I'm very proud of him."
The story of how Russell earned his Purple Heart and Silver Star was featured in a December 2006 GQ magazine article, "A Few Good Medals."
"They ran a photo of him smiling and covered in blood," says Grinels. "That picture was taken right after he was shot. One of his Marines joked with him, 'Sir, can you try to look injured?' "
The couple met two years ago, when a group of Marines caught Grinels performing at a pub. "I heckled the Marines from the stage," says Grinels. "I made them put their arms around each other and do a kick line while I sang. When I got offstage, Dave approached me and said, 'You have characteristics I'd like to pass on to my children.' It worked!"
Grinels says Russell helped get her new album made.
"He acted as executive producer and was involved every step of the way," she says. "He gave feedback on the music, offered a few lyrics here and there, was present for the recording when he got back from his tour, enlisted graphic designers, and dealt with the duplication company. He also wrote some of the mass emails, and he's always my roadie when he's available."
Grinels is on a nationwide tour, scheduled to end around the same time Russell returns home in May.