Off the Coast of California (c)1993 joel reese
Back in 1992 i had the honor of performing with my "Top Hand" country dance band at Anchors & Spurs on the Naval base in San Diego, California. Our stage was about five feet off the ground and we looked down on a sea of cowboy hats and the ladies beautiful hair flowing freely over the dance floor.
On our breaks we would visit with many of the service men and women and they would often mention how they were making a Westpac deployment or had just returned from one. The common theme of their stories was one of missing their families and their home towns in the Heartland and the South.
One afternoon as i was driving up the coast of California near Camp Pendleton, i noticed three ships sailing into the sunset. It was a beautiful and noble setting, yet it evoked a picture of loneliness as i considered the service men and women i had sung for so many times at the Naval Base dances.
As Neil Young's music played in the background,a flash of inspiration came over me and I began singing what would become the title line, "Off the Coast of California." i then grabbed my recorder to capture the idea on tape. i finished and recorded this special song on my first CD which we released in 1993. During the next four years i performed for many Wal-Mart Grand Openings and other Wal-Mart events, singing and distributing the CD featuring this song.
Occasionally someone would mention that they had heard "Off the Coast" on a ship overseas. And once i heard of a group of Marines that put a band together and were singing it in or near Iraq in their camp.
Yesterday, (1-7-14) an honorable disabled American Veteran tracked down and called me on my cell phone. i was honored to take the call. He mentioned His years of service, life's ups and downs, and some very difficult times dealing with post-traumatic stress and what comes with it. He then told me how this song had been a comfort to Him through it all.
i was and am touched beyond words. i am grateful for those who serve, and for the measure of peace and security that we sometimes experience in this world due to their sacrifices.
This Marine also mentioned that he wouldn't have made it through his journey without faith in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So, all credit and glory for any encouragement i may have shared by way of music goes to the Grand Creator and His Son.
Several years after releasing this song, I became a student of the Bible and began to search its pages to learn of God's will and purposes. The joy derived by that search has made me even more appreciative of the gift of life and the importance of humility and self-sacrificing service.
i continually seek to grow in an intimate relationship with the giver of life, Jehovah God and His Son, Jesus Christ. i now eagerly look forward to the day when this earth will be cleansed of it's wars, injustices, and suffering...the day when a veteran of war can be made whole again. (Revelation 21:3,4.) The day when the Bible promises that God's Kingdom will replace the governments of this old world and will solve all of mankind's problems forever. (Daniel 2:44)
There's no greater reward for a songwriter than to have a listener contact him with a testimonial of how that song has made a significant impact on his or her life. That supersedes any radio air-play, music industry accolades or financial gain. Having one's song touching the mind and heart of a single human being in such a special way is a gift.
Please enjoy this song and think beyond the geographical references to people of all walks of life making sacrifices for the benefit of others.
Song File: 01_Off_The_Coast_Of_California.mp3 (c)1993 joel reese