MOULTRIE -- "Don't mess with us, In God we trust, We'll do what we must do. The blood in my veins runs red, white and blue."

These are the words in a new Southern rock anthem that will air at the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo Tuesday. Shotgun Charlie Walker of 92.5 Rooster Country out of Tifton will conduct a live remote and has agreed to play the single "Red, White and Blue" throughout the renowned farm show. Three locations of sale will offer the compact disc for $5.

The song took two local musical artists, Mark Russell, 41, of Moultrie and Marie Tidwell, 51, of Tifton, less than two weeks to conceive, record and produce. Already the single has played on several radio stations in Georgia and Alabama. The songwriters say they feel the project was expedited by God.

"I've never had one so seemingly blessed and of such magnitude," Russell said. "Somebody somewhere needs this song. It's not that I'm pushing the song: It's like the song is pushing me.

The aftermath of the U.S. attacks bored deep to the hearts of the two songwriters, they said. Each feel as if they have an insight into relief efforts. Russell's mother is a blood services director for the American Red Cross, and Tidwell's son is a Tifton firefighter.

"We really worked hard to make this song acceptable to everybody and to fulfill the function of giving everybody courage and a sense that we need to remember where we came from and how God has blessed and how we need to have the firm and steady resolve that the president is talking about to accomplish the task before us. And that's what the song is all about," Russell said.

"We both felt led to bring up the morale of the country," Tidwell said. "More than that it is sort of a salute to not only our military, but also our firefighters and law enforcement who have to do the right thing. It's a military salute. It's a citizen salute. It's a pride thing.

"We felt like we had to bring it all into one song to remind them that America does win. America has to fight, but she stands for freedom and that's something we have to fight for."

Russell and Tidwell have been partners for more than five years. Russell has registered hundreds of songs with the Library of Congress, but this song he thinks was itching to be made.

"It's absolutely Southern rock," Tidwell said.

It took the duo a few days to write the song in her living room, Tidwell said. Russell took it to church and a couple of parishioners on the spot gave him several thousand dollars for recording costs at the Upper Room recording studio in Irwinville. It was matter of a few days before instrumentals tracks were recorded in Nashville and the vocals were added, she said, and they had a full production.

The vocal artist on the song, Jason Bozic, hails from Tifton. Tidwell likens his voice to country music vocalist Travis Tritt. Bozic is a regular act at Charlotte's, a Tifton dinner club, she said, and has a bluesy bent to his Southern rock style.

Bozic heard the song, loved it and worked into the wee hours to push the project through.

Just after that by chance, Russell ran into a representative from national music distributor, Anderson Distributing, in Moultrie's Wal-Mart Superstore last week. The representative liked what he heard and told Russell to move on it immediately.

Two thousand copies of the single initially will be made, and thousands more will follow, he said. A UPC bar code is under application. Within a week, they should be able to secure one, and then area Wal-Marts will begin to carry the single, Russell said. This could open the door for more stores to feature the song, he said.

The songwriters are hoping ultimately that a national act will pick up the song and run with it, and they hope to raise some capital to spread distribution of the song. In addition, 10 percent of the sale proceeds will go the American Red Cross relief campaign.

"The fact that a donation to the Red Cross is secondary," Russell said. "The primary purpose of the song, we feel, is to give our young men and women a song of their own





generation to accomplish the task before us."

"We're open to all suggestions, as long as it remains true to the intent and purpose of the song. You don't see people dancing in the streets over what's happening over there. You don't see our people rejoice over the misfortune of others or the disaster which strikes another. We do not need to rejoice in the job we have to do, but we nevertheless have to get it done."

-- By Lori Glenn

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