Music Therapy of the Rockies has rebranded to Music Therapy Retreats — Learn More

March 20, 2024

Story Behind The Song: “Coming Home to War”

Stories and Songs from our Music Therapy Retreats

Music Therapy of the Rockies provides evidence-based music therapy practices to support veterans and other people who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

We host regular music therapy retreats, at no cost to the participants, so they can gain mental wellness through the power of music. During the retreat, we utilize music therapy “best practices,” including goal setting, mindfulness, songwriting experiences with professional songwriters, and adapted guitar instruction.

Our approach helps people identify triggers, learn coping skills for self-regulation, and reframe lived experiences.

As part of the Retreat experience, each veteran receives a brand-new Breedlove Guitar which they use to work on physiological and psychological skills through playing and writing their own music.

About “Coming Home to War”

One of the songs that came from a recent retreat is “Coming Home to War.” The song was written in collaboration between retreat attendee Kevin “Pepper” Martin and songwriter Mark Elliott. Here is Pepper Martin’s story:

I served in the military for 23 years. I was enlisted and then became an officer. I did two tours in Iraq.

When I came home after my second tour, I was in a bad place. I was struggling with a lot of things, and I became addicted to alcohol and prescription medications. This song is about coming back from a situation where you’re struggling, only to find yourself still struggling but in a different way.

I had been writing music for a long time, and that’s how I got connected with Music Therapy of the Rockies. Writing this song with Mark was a totally different writing experience. I had never attempted to write about my feelings about the military. Mark helped me to get it out and put the music to it.

Writing openly about the things I was going through, struggling with addiction and fitting in, has hit on something that a lot of veterans experience. I hope it’s served a lot of people. I know it’s helped me.

I’m in a much better place now than I was then. The combination of camaraderie with fellow veterans, music, and my faith has made a huge difference in my day-to-day life. Connecting with others experiencing the same things opened me up to really explore what I was feeling and
find healing.

I think a lot of veterans and people going through depression or addiction find it difficult to see past today. I want everyone to know that this isn’t going to last forever. It’s ok to struggle, but keep looking towards tomorrow and don’t give up on yourself or on belonging. There is hope waiting for you on the other side of this.

Listen to a preview of Pepper’s song with Mark here:

Support Mental Wellness for Veterans

Music Therapy of the Rockies has served more than 100 veterans at retreats in Tennessee, Colorado, Maryland, and beyond.

With just a $100 donation, you can receive Pepper’s song — along with two full albums that give you an inside look at our retreats. The stories and songs compiled here highlight our veterans’ experiences.

Listen to memories unfold, as veterans’ experiences are explored and captured in song.


Our New Look

Music Therapy Retreats - Primary Logo

Music Therapy of the Rockies has changed its name to Music Therapy Retreats and we're celebrating with a new logo and branding.