A WESTERN WOMAN

"I had to move EAST to find the WEST. Though raised a town girl on the Oregon coast, all I wanted was to be a cowgirl. I spent hours riding the range of my imagination in a swing set saddle and when tall enough, I threw a leg up on my family’s trusty propane tank and rode off into many a sunset."


Her family’s move to the country brought horses into Almeda's childhood and they remained a staple of her adult life. Almeda raised her family in north central Montana, while breeding and showing performance horses, running 150 cows and operating a seed plant and feed business. She now helps train AQHA performance horses with her husband, former Marlboro Man, Merritt Bradshaw, on the Yellowstone River in Huntley, Montana. 

A multi-instrumentalist, Almeda studied cello and piano through college, has a BA in Elementary Education and is self-taught on the guitar, mandolin and various other stringed instruments. She taught students of all ages to play strings from her former private studio and retail store, A Room For Music, in Big Sandy, MT. Almeda has written poetry, journals and songs since her teen years and has been performing at cowboy gatherings throughout the west for nearly two decades.

In 2010, Almeda produced two albums of original songs and poetry, Voices From the Range and A Way of Heart. Both albums were recorded by Chris Cunningham of the acoustic duo, Storyhill, at Basecamp Recording Studio in Bozeman with Montana musicians Britt Smith and Ric Steinke of Open Range adding instrumentation. Almeda did the guitar work.

A third album of original songs Lovers, Wives and Mothers: A Western Woman's Voice was produced by Grammy and Emmy award-winning producer, Lance Bendickson, recorded in Nashville at Sony Tree Studios and released in December 2015. It has since been nominated by three different western organizations for song and album recognition.

Almeda's fourth recording project TRIBUTE was released in 2016 and also received song recognition.

 RECOGNITION

2009 Rookie - Made the finals in 3 of 4 events and placed in the money in Serious Reciting - National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, Montrose, CO
2010 People’s Choice Musician - Lee Earl Memorial Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Lewiston, ID
2010 Voices From The Range - Spent seven months on Joe Baker’s Backforty Bunkhouse chart of Top 20 Western Albums
2010 Best of 2010 - Song The Range Call made Stan Howe’s Best of 2010 Montana Public Radio’s Bunkhouse & Honkytonk Folkshow
2011 Voices From The Range - #15 on the Western Music Association chart of Top 20 Western Albums
2011 Rising Star Finalist - Kamloops Cowboy Festival, Kamloops, BC
2011 Second Place Serious Reciting - National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, Kanab, UT
2012 Top Five Nomination A Way of Heart: The Big Sandy Years - Academy of Western Artists Cowboy Poetry Album of the Year

2015 PROFESSIONAL DIVISION CHAMPION - WMA WESTERN WORDSMITH CHAPTER Poetry Jackpot

2016 WMA SONG OF THE YEAR NOMINATION: Heavenly Here with You

2016 COWBOY IDOL WINNER – COLUMBIA RIVER COWBOY GATHERING, Kennewick, WA

#2 ALBUM – WESTERN MUSIC CHART Lovers, Wives & Mothers

#2 & #6 TOP TEN SONGS – WESTERN MUSIC CHART Heavenly Here with You, Colors in the Rain

2016 WWA SPUR AWARD NOMINATION WESTERN WRITERS of AMERICA, Song of the Year for Parker Eyes of Blues.

2017 WMA SONG OF THE YEAR NOMINATION: Larry Dever Did

2017 #2 & #4 TOP TEN SONGS Cowboy, Larry Dever Did

2017 AWA ALBUM OF THE YEAR NOMINATION: Lovers, Wives & Mothers: A Western Woman’s Voice

 

INFLUENCES

 
Almeda grew up listening to her dad’s lp collection of big bands, the Boston Pops and classical orchestra music until an eye-popping epiphany happened while watching the Beatles’ American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. Though classically trained through college on piano and cello, her musical alter-ego was fed through the guitar which she taught herself to play at age thirteen. It was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s "Circle" album that turned her on to the flat picking style of Mother Maybelle Carter. Though covers of Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Joni Mitchell,  Fleetwood Mac and others from the 60s and 70s took over her teenage years, Almeda later returned to the heart of her musical soul in Western Americana/Roots Music, an eclectic mix of cowboy, bluegrass, old-time, folk and spirituals. There she remains.