By Airman 1st Class Dennis Hoffman, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 26, 2016
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- “It ain't a jacked up truck that's never seen a pasture, it's cars pulling over for a no-cab tractor, it's homemade peach ice cream on sun-burnt lips — that's what country is,” as sang in “What Country Is.”
He wrote that song famously performed by Luke Bryan, American country music recording artist, in which he described with vivid imagery the idea of “country.”
While years have gone by since that song debuted on Bryan’s multi-platinum album “Doin’ My Thing,” the thoughts the songwriter had on what country was when he wrote it have broadened since the day he placed his cowboy boots in the closet and laced up a brand-new pair of sage-green combat boots.
Airman 1st Class Jamie Teachenor, U.S. Air Force Academy Band and Wild Blue Country lead vocalist, decided to make his move to the Air Force Academy Band after years of writing and singing in award-winning songs. Now, he sets his sights on combining his past experiences with his current duties.
Music has always been Teachenor’s way of life, having grown up in a family led by Rock-a-Billy Hall of Famer, Jim Teachenor.
“My dad played music all my life,” said Teachenor. “It’s like if you grow up in a family of carpenters, you are going to know how to drive a nail. I grew up in a family of musicians so I, by default, started playing music and falling in love with music at an early age.”
Teachenor grew up in a small, rural farm town in Missouri. He knew since the day he started singing and playing instruments he wanted to do it for the rest of his life. All he needed to figure out was how to make the means necessary.
“When I was nine years old, I performed at a honky-tonk nightclub,” said Teachenor. “My dad was in the back making sure I was safe, but I ended up with 65 dollars cash. That night I got bit by the bug. I remember thinking to myself ‘I’m never going back — I’m never going to stop doing this!’”
Teachenor held onto those words as he matured and quickly became a rising star in the country singing world. He found a way to provide a quality life for, not only himself, but for his family through his music in the heartland of country music, Nashville, Tennessee, he said.
From his humbling beginnings, Teachenor went on to be recognized as a multi-platinum singer and songwriter. He performed for millions of viewers on Good Morning America, The Early Show and Fox & Friends. He was featured in Billboard magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, People magazine, USA Today, VH1, MTV and CMT. He even wrote chart-topping songs for and recorded with some of the most recognizable names in the country music industry, including Blake Shelton, Vince Gill, Luke Bryan, Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry, Joey + Rory, Trisha Yearwood, Gretchen Wilson, Blaine Larsen and many more.
Alongside these accolades and monumental achievements, Teachenor was presented with an opportunity that was unlike anything he had experienced in his life. There was an opening for a commercial singer in the Air Force Academy Band’s country music group Wild Blue Country. Teachenor said he knew that was where his life was leading him next.
“Honestly, I have always wanted to serve my country,” said Teachenor. “I would always find myself looking at the different branches, knowing my dad served in the Army. A part of me always felt the need to serve, I wanted to be a part of something bigger.”
The spot in the band was not an easily acquirable position. To earn it, Teachenor had to apply and then audition in front of multiple NCOs, who video recorded and scrutinized him from his appearance to his vocal caliber.
“I sent in a CD of a recording and a résumé of all my accomplishments,” he said. “It was neat because then the NCOs from the Academy band came to Music Row in Nashville and auditioned me. They brought back a recording of me to show to the commander and thankfully, they ended up picking me.”
Teachenor is quick to admit his life hasn’t changed much outside of the obvious jump to the military.
“I get to tour the world and play music for the Air Force,” said Teachenor. “Not much has changed. It’s a very similar job to the ones I have had before and I still get to write songs for Nashville, but my hair is a little shorter now.”
Now that Teachenor is a full-fledged member of the Air Force Academy Band, he plans to bring his skill set of singing and songwriting to the forefront of Wild Blue Country. For the first time in military history, Wild Blue Country will debut a completely original album entitled “Here We Are.” The album will be comprised entirely of songs written by Teachenor.
“The Air Force is great at everything,” said Teachenor. “We have all the key ingredients for being the best in the world. Our pilots can fly against any pilot in the world, so I feel our music should also be able to stand on its own. I really want to do my part to see Air Force music be competitive with the giants in the music world.”
Humbled by his accomplishments, Teachenor believes he has the ability to push good back out in the world. He believes in his mission and believes in his fellow Airmen.
“The Air Force helps out so much in the world and does so much good,” he said. “Music has that same capability and I am blessed that I have the opportunity to serve in the Air Force Academy Band and continue to help the world for the better, whether that is through combat readiness or through singing the National Anthem to someone who needs reminded of ‘What Country Is.’”