The song "Softly Down" was written by BMI songwriter Peter Prince and published by Joe Pickering Jr's King Of The Road Music. There are currently two versions, one by Colene Walters ( "Softly Down" video) and a version by talented Nashville vocalist, Alan Johnson. Both are now available for streaming and/or downloading on CDBaby, Itunes, Amazon, Apple, Spotify etc. The song was inspired by the courage and professionalism of Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and the event known as "The Miracle on the Hudson." On January 15th, 2009, Flight 1549, leaving from LaGuardia Airport, NYC. to Charlotte,North Carolina with 155 people aboard, was struck by birds, leaving both engines incapacitated. Amazingly Captain Sullenberger guided the plane over the George Washington Bridge and with no other options,landed it in the Hudson River. All 155 aboard survived the ordeal. Sully's calm but firm approach and skill in what was essentially gliding a commercial jet into freezing waters, turned a seasoned airline pilot into a national hero and celebrity..
Peter told me that he wrote "Softly Down" three days after the event after listening to the cockpit recording of Captain Sullenberger's interaction with the airport's control tower personnel. When he said, "We're gonna be in the Hudson", I felt the strength of this man and teared up, said Peter." My feeling was if I was on that plane this is the kind of man that would give me hope that I might survive."
It was announced several months ago that Warner Brothers Pictures with Clint Eastwood directing and Tom Hanks playing "Sully" (the movie's title) would begin filming the beginning of this year. The latest news is that the movie's release will be September 9, 2016. It is Peter's hope that "Softly Down" will somehow find its way into the film." My publisher and the performer on the video[ Link] Ms. Colene Walters see it as a wonderful fit with closing credits. Ms. Walters should know. She has spent a good part of her life as a singer in Nashville, TN. She performed with two country icons; the legendary Porter Wagoner as his duet partner, filling the role once held by Dolly Parton and Johnny Russell, who wrote "Act Naturally" that became a hit for The Beatles among many others.The stage of The Grand Ole Opry became her workplace and she appeared with Porter on tv shows like Crook and Chase and the Waylon Jennings Show. "I love her interpretation of the song. It has a very reverential feel, almost prayerful" Peter told me.
One of the writer's most rewarding experiences regarding the song/ video is that it was heard by one of the survivors of Flight 1549, Mr. Dave Sanderson, who placed it on his website. Mr. Sanderson was the last passenger off the plane, who ended up in the water, after helping others to safety. "Dave's embracing of my effort was an honor and that it might have resonated with him, was very fulfilling." That and maybe hearing it in "Sully."
Joe P. for Country Music News International