When Jason Deere reflects on the "soundtrack" of his mission, you can probably get him to sing some strains from Michael Mclean's "Together Forever."
As a young missionary in Las Vegas in 1989, Deere had no idea that the songs he would write would someday become the "soundtrack" to many missionaries serving today.
Since serving a mission, Deere has become an award-winning songwriter and producer. The man can sing, too. His songs have been sung by big names such as LeAnn Rimes and Jessica Simpson and featured in movies such as "Santa Clause 2." And that is the extreme short list from his resume.
In the Mormon community however, Deere, along with his friend Dan Truman of the country music band Diamond Rio, might be better known for creating the Nashville Tribute Band and writing and producing the albums "Joseph: A Nashville Tribute to the Prophet," and "Trek: A Nashville Tribute to the Pioneers."
"We just wanted to do some things for us. We didn't think that anyone would care about a Mormon Redneck record," Deere said.
Using their connections to well-known musicians, the records started to come together in ways that Deere will tell you were "supposed to happen."
"I'm not smart enough to have designed this the way it's evolved … Dan and I thought we were really smart, but what was supposed to happen, happened," Deere said.
Deere and Truman were tossing around ideas for a third album when they thought of the missionaries.
"So many letters from so many missionaries, saying that ("Joseph") had become the soundtrack to their missions, came in," Deere said. "It was such an honor. We knew we had to do a tribute to missionaries. That is the next natural progression. As soon as (Joseph Smith) got the gospel, they sent missionaries out. It was just the right thing to talk about."
"The Work: A Nashville Tribute to the Missionaries," is tentatively scheduled to be finished around October — and this album has a mission of it's own.Comment on this story
"I want the world to know (about missionaries)," Deere said. People want to know, 'What's going to happen to me when I open that door?' I think they need to know what the culture of missionaries means to us as a people."
"If the world knows that these young men and young women have given up two years of their lives to (serve a mission) and they know that they have a mama that is at home, every night, praying that their missionary is safe and praying that they have the experiences to bring souls to Christ, if they know what this culture means to us, I think that they are more than likely to listen to what they have to say. That means something to me and that is what I want the world to know."
"There are 50 thousand (missionaries) out there rock and rollin' full time — let's celebrate that. "