Williamsport native Joe Paulhamus has written a song he hopes will call attention to and resonate with veterans and soldiers worldwide.
Written on his birthday in September 2009, the song arose from the rubble of a broken relationship.
"I was with her for 13 years," Paulhamus said. "I was kind of sitting at the house and thought, 'Oh, it was you.' At the same time, I realized 'I do love you.' So I picked up the guitar and I wrote the song in like 10 minutes."
Then as he sat there, it dawned on him that a lot of people feel that way, especially people in the Armed Forces away from their families.
"I thought 'Oh, It's You' would apply to them more than anything," Paulhamus said. "They are away from their loved ones who are back home, so I picked up a pen, re-wrote it how it would fit in with the ones back home and the ones back there."
Shortly after writing "Oh, It Was You," he went down to his friend Joey Jenks' house. While hanging out together, Jenks asked Paulhamus if he'd had written anything new.
"I said, 'Yeah,' and played it for him," Paulhamus said. "He was like, 'You know, there's something about that.' So we recorded it."
Using the Garage Band program, Paulhamus laid down the acoustic guitar track and Jenks added a lead electric guitar to flesh the song out.
"While we were recording, Joey said that I should really do something bigger with it," he said.
"We started calling around and I found another musician, Joe Hauserman. We called him and had a pre-production meeting, then called Richard Rupert out at Green Valley recording studios in Hughesville. We all ended up down there."
One afternoon, they put the track together - Hauserman adding drums and keyboards, Rupert contributing bass with Paulhamus recording his vocal tracks.
"All the tracks were recorded separately," he said. "There are 25 tracks to the song, including piano, synthesizer, tambourine; chime tree - it's all there. We came back and I was like, 'You know, this really isn't done yet.' Everyone who heard it said I needed to do something with the song because it's catchy, so I thought about making it a duet. I got a hold of a girl introduced to me, Amy Turner. She came in on the project and nailed her vocals in the first take. That's how good she is. Then we ended up going back to Richard and he mixed it."
Excited about his creation, Paulhamus was hoping to release it in time for the holidays last year, so he took a copy of the song to the local Armed Forces.
"I went down to the recruiting office and showed them the song's video, they were like, 'That's beautiful, how can we get that out?"
He turned to the Internet.
"We put it up on Soundclick where it ranked 410 out of 440,000 songs," he said. "Then I kind of shelved it after I lost my singer for a while because she was busy with work and things at the time. But this year, I blew the dust off of it because in the last two to three months everyone started getting on me. I put it up on my Facebook and created a YouTube page too. People are just like, 'Joe, that's awesome' or, 'Joe, it made me cry,' and 'That would be a great song for the troops.' The military does so much for us and they get nothing in return. I keep thinking to myself that if I can do something, the least I can do is try to get it out to them."
"My dad was a tank commander in the Korean War," he said. "Even when he's had problems over the years, the VA did nothing for him. They just can't get a break it seems. So, I figure I'm trying to do my part. I'm totally against war. We all should get along in the world but we can't. I'm not trying to find fame or fortune here. I'm just trying to get this out so somebody back home thinks about the veterans and tries to do something nice for them."
Paulhamus works construction and is a truck driver but his six-string is always nearby. He used to drive coast-to-coast but still made time to play some acoustic on the road.
"I've been playing guitar since I was 8," he said. "I started out on acoustic then I wanted to play rock 'n' roll, so I went to the electric. After that, I got myself another acoustic, playing both for a long time. Then I bought myself a 12-string guitar. I have songs I wrote at home and they sit there. Friends come over and I play for them. They say, 'Why don't you record those songs. You've got to get into the studio - you are very good at what you do.' "
Paulhamus has another song called "What's Inside," which is planned as the follow-up single to "Oh, It's You."
"Amy helped me co-write and she sung that," he said. "It was so beautiful. It was written after and I'm actually on that to get it going because we're going to record this next and dedicate it to the soldiers and veterans as well."
To see Paulhamus' video for the song "Oh, It's You," visit www.youtube.com/brCrzVx58cs.