She calls on her music angels for inspiration when writing her songs. She says she just thinks of them, they write the songs and all she does is …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
She calls on her music angels for inspiration when writing her
songs. She says she just thinks of them, they write the songs and
all she does is record the music for the angels.
Jennifer Sweete has been a professional musician since the age
of 16, and started playing music in second grade. She started with
the violin until she hit middle school, switching gears and
“I wanted to be a rock star and I craved the guitar,” she said.
“At the time my family couldn’t afford lessons, so I learned from a
guy who was giving them on PBS.”
Lessons from the television were her only training and soon she
was writing her own songs, playing in a variety of venues and
eventually producing three CDs. Sweete describes her sound as
unique with a mixture of rock, pop, blues and contemporary rock.
She is now retired from playing live shows, but still records songs
and albums and sings lullabies to her grandson every night.
But last September an opportunity unexpectedly fell in her lap.
She was approached by her husband about designing a Web site for a
nonprofit organization in Elbert County called the Equine Assisted
Psychotherapy Combat Veterans Cowboy Up program developed by John
Nash. The program helps combat veterans deal with Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder using horses. Over time the horses help the vets
break down walls and move forward in recovery.
Soon after, Sweete designed the Web site, became the senior
director of marketing and fundraising as well as Webmaster and
decided the program needed a theme song to express to the average
person the struggles a veteran can have dealing with PTSD. Sweete
deals with PTSD personally, although her experiences were personal
and not disclosed, and she said she knows the hardships the
disorder can cause for a person.
“I have been working on my PTSD for years and I feel like I have
a pretty good grip,” she said. “But I know when it comes on and it
can be overwhelming and can last for days.”
Sweete has also dealt with a number of friends who came back
from the Vietnam War with PTSD and she watched as they were spit on
and shunned from society. She said she gets frustrated at people
who do not understand what the men and women have been through in
war, therefore the process to write the song was intense and unlike
any other writing experience.
Sweete started writing the song “Cowboy Up” in October with a
specific intent on what she wanted to say and the point she wanted
to get across to listeners. She first wrote down all her feelings
she has about life, war, pain and PTSD and after filling up half a
notebook, very little progress was made with the actual song. Days
and days went by and one night she finally gave up and threw her
hands up, just in time for some angelic inspiration.
“The next day I woke up and it was like, boom, and I wrote the
song in 20 minutes,” she said. “I needed to let go of trying to
write it myself without that great guidance in the sky where the
gift comes from.”
After the song was finished Sweete asked her friend Barry Ebert
to sing the vocals and then the song was put to video for YouTube
by another friend, Kris Garrett, who runs her own Web site called
video and audio productions.
“I wanted Barry to sing the song because he is one of my
favorite singers of all time and I just love his voice,” she
The song and video was released on YouTube on April 27. Sweete
also released a version of herself singing the song. She said she
thought a version with a female voice might be more relatable to
women in the military.
Sweete said the writing process of “Cowboy Up” was therapeutic
“While I was writing the song it was like a piece of my heart
got put back in place,” she said. “I felt like it was one of the
major things I came here to do in this life and now I’ve done
Since working with the Combat Veterans Cowboy Up program and
John Nash, Sweete said she has been able to work with some of the
horses, bonding with one in particular named Honey. She believes
the program offers a permanent solution to a permanent problem and
that every vet should know about the program.
“I am honored to be working John Nash. The man has a heart of
gold and he is a survivor of PTSD,” she said. “He’s helping a lot
of people survive as well and regain their lives and really live
Sweete said “Cowboy Up” is her thank you to Nash and she hopes
he knows how loved and respected he is by her and so many people he
has already affected.
To watch the video and hear the song “Cowboy Up” visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYkLZWJKJuc.
For more information on the Combat Veterans Cowboy Up program visit
“COWBOY UP” © 2008 Jennifer Sweete
Where are all the words to say what we need to hear
When all of the ghosts of our past suddenly appear
Hey there look around, can you hear the bombs bursting clear
Heart to heart can we find the love
I bellieve, I believe, it’s why we’re still here, so …
Cowboy up – you’re back in the saddle
Your mind is a stallion when you finally decide
Cowboy up – ride away from the battle
It’s your new batallion gettin’ ready to ride
Your heart is a stallion and the wind’s at your side
Cowboy up –ride away from the battle
Let’s get back on the trail – cowboy up for the ride
You’re not making this journey alone
Together, we’re all gonna find our way home
When all the ghosts of our past come to call too loud
Hey there listen close, can you hear your voice in the crowd
Never givin’ up, heart to heart we can find the love
I believe, I believe the time is right now, so…
Cowboy up- you’re back in the saddle
Cowboy up – the reins are for takin’
Your mind is a whisper of screams that have died
Cowboy up- you’re not alone in this saddle
We all go together – cowboy up for the ride
Up for the ride, up for the ride
Cowboy up for the ride
“We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’ve found the trail
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.