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US State Songs
US State Songs

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New Mexico State Cowboy Song

"Under the New Mexico Skies"

Composed by Syd Masters

Adopted on March 25, 2009.

March 25, 2009, Governor Bill Richardson signed legislation declaring Under the New Mexico Skies as the first official cowboy song. The song was composed by Syd Masters of Edgewood, NM. This song was selected at a songwriting competition sponsored by the New Mexico Music Commission at the Western Music Association's music Festival in Albuquerque in November 2007.

New Mexico State Cowboy Song:
"Under the New Mexico Skies"

"Under the New Mexico Skies"

(first verse)
Where the Pi?n Mesa rolls
And the campfire cures your woes
Watchin' the sly roadrunner flee
On the tail of an autumn breeze
I'm leanin' against a juniper bole
As the creek water takes a stroll
(chorus)
That's where you'll find me
Where the big back country lies
There the cowboy's free to ride
Out under New Mexico skies
(second verse)
Where the lean jack hops along
And the coyote sings his song
Up high the rocky spires shade
The sunny desert days
I'm leanin' against adobe walls of old
Their stories to be told
(chorus)
That's where you'll find me
Where the big back country lies
There the cowboy's free to ride
Out under New Mexico skies
(third verse)
Just me and a covey of gamblin' quail
Lopin' down the Turquoise Trail
(chorus)
That's where you'll find me
Where the big back country lies
There the cowboy's free to ride
Out under New Mexico skies."

Origin of Song: "New Mexico Skies"

In 2006, New Mexico State Representative Gloria C. Vaughn, Alamogordo, introduced House Bill No. 232 (HB 232) in the House of Representatives. HB 232 proposed that the song "New Mexico,"by Calvin Boles and R.D. Blankenship be named as New Mexico's official cowboy song. It died.

Representative Vaughn was back in 2007 however. Again, she offered "New Mexico"as the official state cowboy song in House Bill No. 81 (HB 81). But this year Rep. Vaughn could not even persuade the House to vote on her bill.

At this point Rep. Vaughn stepped back and, evidently, rethought her approach. On the day after the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee signed off on HB 81 "Without Recommendation,"Rep Vaughn introduced House Memorial No. 70 (HM 70) calling for a competition to determine an official cowboy song for New Mexico.

HM 70 set the stage for adoption of "Under New Mexico Skies" in 2009.

New Mexico House Memorial No. 70 (HM 70)

A MEMORIAL
REQUESTING THE NEW MEXICO MUSIC COMMISSION TO CREATE A
COMPETITION FOR COMPOSERS OF A STATE COWBOY SONG.

WHEREAS, a member of the house of representatives in the year 2007 offered the state an opportunity to adopt an official state cowboy song; and

WHEREAS, the state has a state song, a state ballad and a state bilingual song; and

WHEREAS, a good deal of the controversy surrounding adoption of an official state cowboy song arose because of competition among composers who wanted to be known as the composer of the state cowboy song; and

WHEREAS, the members may be able to agree on declaring an official state cowboy song so long as the process for selecting such a song is less arbitrary than by a vote of a majority of the members of the legislature, whose tastes and musical abilities may vary; and

WHEREAS, the governor has created a state music commission;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the New Mexico music commission conduct a competition for a New Mexico cowboy song; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the competition be open to any person born in New Mexico or who has lived in New Mexico consecutively for the past twenty years; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the competition accept entries for at least six months prior to selection and that the winner of the competition be announced at least a month before the start of a legislative session; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a jury selected by the New Mexico music commission select the New Mexico cowboy song from among the entries, based on a majority vote; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that entrants in the competition agree to release to the state any rights to the song composed for the competition; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the New Mexico music commission present the New Mexico cowboy song to a future legislative session for consideration as the official state cowboy song;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this memorial be transmitted to the New Mexico music commission, the governor and each country-western radio station in the state.

The New Mexico Music Commission accepted the charge requested of them by HM 70 and, on November 15, 2007, Representative Vaughn kicked off the competition at the Western Music Association's International Music Festival in Albuquerque.

By the end of November, 2008, a song had been chosen.

Introduced on January 28, 2009, House Bill No. 389 (HB 389) proposed that "Under New Mexico Skies," by Syd Masters be named New Mexico's official state cowboy song.

With the backing of the New Mexico Music Commission, HB389 sailed through the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Bill Richardson on March 25, 2009.

New Mexico Law

New Mexico Statutes, Title 12, Article 3, Section 12-3-19

Chapter 12, Article 3 of the New Mexico Statutes Annotated
Section 12-3-19.  State cowboy song

12-3-19. State cowboy song.
The words and music of "Under New Mexico Skies", written by Syd Masters, are declared to be the official state cowboy song. The words of the state cowboy song are as follows:
"(first verse)
Where the Pi?n Mesa rolls
And the campfire cures your woes
Watchin' the sly roadrunner flee
On the tail of an autumn breeze
I'm leanin' against a juniper bole
As the creek water takes a stroll
(chorus)
That's where you'll find me
Where the big back country lies
There the cowboy's free to ride
Out under New Mexico skies
(second verse)
Where the lean jack hops along
And the coyote sings his song
Up high the rocky spires shade
The sunny desert days
I'm leanin' against adobe walls of old
Their stories to be told
(chorus)
That's where you'll find me
Where the big back country lies
There the cowboy's free to ride
Out under New Mexico skies
(third verse)
Just me and a covey of gamblin' quail
Lopin' down the Turquoise Trail
(chorus)
That's where you'll find me
Where the big back country lies
There the cowboy's free to ride
Out under New Mexico skies."
History: Laws 2009, ch. 28, § 1.

State Songs
US State Songs
Forty-nine states of the United States (all except New Jersey) have one or more state songs, selected by the state legislature as a symbol of the state.
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