America Supports You a Defense Department. CMT, Ft.Gillem, Nellis AFB

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#1 Billboard Country Music Artist Raymond Harris is supporting the troops like no other artist has ever done.

PHIL SWEETLAND, Country music and Radio contributor, The New York Times

#1 Billboard Country Music Artist Raymond Harris is a perfect fit for military's and Country Radio's audiences. "PHIL SWEETLAND, Country music and Radio contributor, The New York Times"

Raymond Harris is doing something no other performer has done. The country music singer plans to spend five years on a tour to every possible military installation to support America's troops. In the past 13 months, Harris has played to crowds at 70 military installations, all in the continental United States, but over the next four years he expects his effort will take him to 500 bases around the globe.

At every installation he visits, Harris brings guitars for the troops to sign. He expects to take those guitars -- 300 of them -- to the Grand Ole Opry to be placed in a museum.

Harris also owns a monster truck, called the "Music City Crusher," which he brings to his shows. "I put eight seats in the back, and so now when I make appearances on the installations, I've got the Music City Crusher giving rides to the troops," he said.

Although he is working on a new album right now, Harris said he is already planning his next one, to be called "America's Song." The new album, which he will start recording in spring 2007, will feature not just Ray Harris, but also contributions from America's troops. Retired and active-duty military members will be invited to submit song lyrics to Harris's Web site. He expects to record a full album, splitting royalties with his military collaborators.

Harris's site also features a link to "America Supports You," a Defense Department initiative facilitating grassroots and corporate support for the nation's troops and their families.

"The best thing in the world is shaking their hand, you know, meeting them one-on-one," he said, recalling an event on the flight line at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. "I met some guys and shook their hands straight off the plane, straight from Iraq. ... You feel it when you shake their hands. It was just incredible."

American Forces Press Service

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