Western Writers of America named “Parker Eyes of Blue” by Almeda Bradshaw a Spur Award Finalist for Best Western Song.
It’s no wonder.
The song recounts the kidnapping of ten-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker by Comanche warriors during an 1836 raid in Texas. The words of the song range from lyrically beautiful:
Her eyes were the skies of the Llano Estacado
Wide and deep and blue
to hauntingly graphic:
Face down hands and feet were bound
Escaping not the brutal sound
Of women raped upon the ground
Indian vocals open and close the song, with Almeda singing the story in between. WWA isn’t the only organization to honor the remarkable song; it’s also recognized by the Western Music Association.
“Parker Eyes of Blue” may be my favorite, but it’s only one of eleven excellent tracks on her Lovers, Wives & Mothers album—which, you might surmise, gives us a look at the West from a female perspective. Musical styles vary from folksy traditional to hints of Western Swing and bluegrass.
Most tracks are Almeda originals, including music she composed to turn poems by master poets Colen Sweeten and Bette Wolf Duncan into songs. Another composition is Almeda’s answer to “Sharon Little Hawk,” a song by Dave Stamey, one of the all-time best Western songwriters. Two of Stamey’s songs, along with tunes by other songwriting legends Tom Russell and Ian Tyson, round out the album.
If you’re a fan of Western music, you’ll like Lovers, Wives & Mothers. If you’re not, this album could change your mind.