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thedrifter
07-14-07, 02:57 PM
The sounds of strong, high-powered guitar solos and belted lyrics could be heard from the Al Asad base theater, July 3.

The sounds were coming from country music singer Gina Notrica and her band, The Bootleggers, as they entertained service members with a concert.

The concert was just one stop on a tour organized by AKA Productions. Notrica and the Bootleggers had six more concerts planned throughout Iraq before returning to the United States.

On the eve of an Independence Day spent away from family, the high-energy concert was just what service members needed to relax and enjoy themselves.

Notrica sang country favorites like “Black Velvet” and “Redneck Woman” and sprinkled in some of the songs off her new album.

Although Notrica wants to show her support to the service members, that is not the only reason the band took time to perform for the troops, according to Notrica.

“My father is the main reason I come out here,” said Notrica. “I do this for him.”

Her father was a soldier in the Korean War. While deployed, he learned that his wife was having complications during her pregnancy and he was being sent home. Shortly after he left, his unit was overrun. Notrica did not hear the story until a few years ago. Her father’s experiences during the war inspired Notrica to write a song about his story, which she sang for the audience.

Crowd participation seemed to be the theme of the night; Notrica invited service members up onto the stage to not only sing songs along with her, but to serenade them as well.

“The best part was getting on stage” said Cpl. Doug Copeland, a motor transportation mechanic with 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion. Notrica brought Copeland onto the stage to sing “Something to Talk About” to him.

“It was pretty cool,” added Copeland. “She got everybody involved.”

Notrica and The Bootleggers are no strangers to tours in the desert, this is the third year Notrica has performed in Iraq. For some members of the Bootleggers this is their fifth time performing in a combat zone.

This was the third stop on the tour. The band and Notrica especially looked forward to playing for the service members aboard Al Asad, according to Art Holland, one of the guitarists for The Bootleggers.

“Marines make the best crowds,” said Holland, who has done five music tours in Iraq with various artists. “I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s because you guys are in the action, but you really know how to let loose. That’s why we’re excited most about playing here and at Fallujah.”

At the end of the night, the service members were just as glad as the band that they had the opportunity to watch the concert.

“It was pretty entertaining,” said Copeland. “It was definitely a big morale boost for her to come out here.”