By Jimmy Patterson
SAN ANGELO — In 1981, Cindy Jordan was on top of the L.A. music world. Two years later things became even better. Jordan had written a song and taken it to Los Angeles radio stations, who fell in love with it. In 1983, that same song, “Jose Cuervo (You Are a Friend of Mine),” was recorded by Shelly West and it ended up being the No. 1 song of the year on country radio.
Today, Jordan has turned her songwriting talents to efforts of peace. A San Angelo resident since 2005, she moved to West Texas with husband Dennis Buckingham, who is in the oil business, and their son Jordan.
A lifelong Catholic, Jordan’s turn to writing and recording songs of peace as well as Christian music for children has not led to her shunning that first song: “Jose Cuervo” may have plenty to do with the effects of tequila and how the liquor can take a person to a different level of consciousness, shall we say, but she sees the song as one people enjoy because of the fun it conveys. Jordan says more people identified with the lines, “The music is playing/My spirits are high” because they connote life and joy more than “Who is the cowboy who’s sleeping next to me … I had too much tequila last night.” She also considers the song as part of her life’s journey and celebrates its popularity.
It was after she had written “Jose Cuervo” that Jordan had a conversion of sorts; an epiphany that went from frustration at God to the realization that her life was totally out of her hands.
“I put 1,000 percent effort into that song and it went to No. 1 in Los Angeles but Warner Bros. didn’t get behind it and it did nothing nationwide. One day I was in my room and I had an attitude with God; I didn’t think God was listening, and I said to him, ‘OK, you think you’re all that, you make solar systems and mountains and oceans and I am supposed to be impressed? You can’t even make this whole song thing happen for me,” Jordan recalled saying.
Two years later, the song was named Song of the Year by two of the music industry’s most respected trade publications: R&R and Billboard. It was when that happened that Jordan began to see the light.
“It just helped me understand the way God works,” she said. “The way He works is not on our terms, it’s always on God’s terms. When you finally surrender, that’s when God shows you what you’re supposed to be doing. It’s not about what you can do, it’s about what you do with God that accomplishes the bigger picture.”
A year after “Jose Cuervo” shot to the top and became Song of the Year, Jordan and family moved to East Texas.
She established Kids for Kids in 1987 after realizing that young people respond better to help and messages when they come from another young person and not necessarily always or exclusively from an adult.
In 1998, the family moved to Nashville and Jordan composed and produced 11 inspirational instrumental CDs in just a year’s time for Page Music. Her compositions were found to be helpful to people suffering from cancer, heart surgery, dialysis, even migraines.
She had been guaranteed $100,000 a year for the relaxing instrumental music she was writing and performing, but that income, she said, “went away” suddenly and unexpectedly. Wisdom gained through the experience of “Jose Cuervo” helped her to make it through that income loss, not to mention the loss of an avenue for her creativity and expression.
In 2000, the children’s songs she had written after forming Kids for Kids were translated into Spanish. In 2005, the family returned to Texas, this time moving to San Angelo, and Jordan morphed Kids for Kids into “Children For a Peaceful World.”
“Children for a Peaceful World is a program that was created to teach children Christian values through serving others,” said Jordan, who is trying to develop relationships in West Texas that will allow her to grow her efforts in the region so that she can continue to help children. Jordan will speak Friday to the Business & Professional Women’s Club in Midland as part of that effort to share what her program is about and hopefully interest people in helping.
Children who joined together performing Jordan’s songs at county fairs, festivals and churches through the original Kids for Kids raised money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and participated in a camp for burn survivors where they learned the value of being kind to children who are “different.” She hopes now, with help, to develop the same sort of effort in West Texas.
“We believe our children can make a difference,” she said. “We have witnessed and experienced the power of music and we appreciate the wisdom of young children. Through Children for a Peaceful World, it’s not only kids who benefit, but adults always leave with an uplifting experience, too.”
Children For a Peaceful World hopes to raise funding to provide free music to children in pediatrics, children’s ministries, schools, churches and families nationwide. The effort has already taken hold in Texas, Louisiana, California, Georgia and Iowa.
To learn more about Jordan’s effort, visit childrenforapeacefulworld.com.