Music and Comedy
Menu of this month's listings, stories and columns
Cool Canyon Nights — The summer series of free outdoor summer concerts are 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays through July 28 at McKelligon Canyon, Amphitheatre, sponsored by WestStar Bank. Admission is free; craft beers and cocktails for sale, with food sold by a variety of food trucks. Themed nights this year include 70’s, Classic Rock, Salsa, Tribute night, Military Appreciation, photo booths, crafters, painters, karaoke and more. Information: 534-0600 or elpasolive.com, kisselpaso.com or on Facebook at CoolCanyonNights.
Star Lounge Pass is $10 online, $15 at the door, providing access to Star Lounge, free hors d’oeuvres, private bar and seating in the lounge, reserved seating in the amphitheatre, and half-off first drink.
• June 30: Joe Barron
• July 7: Trailerband, Our Friend the Mountain and Dusty Low
• July 14: Billy Townes
• July 21: Windy City
• July 28: Mariachi Los Arrieros.
Mariachi Fatigo — Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 250 E. Montecillo, presents the progressive bordertown mariachi group 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, June 30, at its Glass Half Full Taproom. Admission is free. Information: drafthouse.com/el-paso.
Alfresco! Fridays — The 14th season of free outdoor summer concerts are 6 p.m. Fridays through Sept. 30, at Convention Center Plaza. Presented by ElPasoLive.com and sponsored by FirstLight Federal Credit Union. No concerts June 17 or Sept. 2. No outside food or beverages, or pets allowed. Information: 534-0633 or alfrescofridays.com.
• July 1: The Birdogs (Classic Rock)
• July 8: Azucar (Latin Variety)
• July 15: Ribo Flavin’ (Latin, Hip-Hop, Funk Fusion)
• July 22: Prime 80’s Xperience (Retro)
• July 29: Mariachi Fatigo (Mariachi, Salsa)
• Aug. 5: Sorry About Your Sister (Rockabilly)
‘La Parada’ — The monthly grassroots event celebrating local culture and lifestyles is the first Friday of the month at 501 Bar and Bistro in the San Carlos Building, 501 Texas. Information: 351-6023 or on Facebook at laparadaep.
The July 1 event features music by Wake Self & Def-1, Scan Z, Zyme One, Dxrty Bxrd, Three Oh!, Next Level Records, One Man Jazz, System A, DJ Surreal, DJ Bless Me and SXN Back Room Showcase, with live art by Miguel Ibarra, Masen and Huher.
Summer Concerts — El Paso Parks and Recreation’s free outdoor music concerts are 8 p.m. Fridays through the summer months at various city parks. Bring chairs and picnic. No alcohol or glass-bottled beverages permitted. Leashed, well-behaved dogs welcome. Information: 212-0092 or elpasotexas.gov/parks.
• July 1: Noteworks Jazz at Madeline Park, 900 E. Baltimore.
• July 8: Jerri G and Cold C at John Lyons Park, 11510 Cheryl Ladd.
• July 15: Prime 80's Dance (retro) at Memorial Park, 3100 Copper.
• July 29: The Dream Merchant Band at Sal Berroteran Park, 2171 Sun Country.
Craig Morgan — The country music stars opens headlines the summer’s “Let Freedom Sing” concert series, also featuring Lucas Hoge and Carter Winter, at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 2, at Fort Bliss’s Freedom Crossing’s event lawn. Opening act is the Joe Barron Band.
No coolers or outside food and beverages permitted. Chairs permitted on concrete areas only. The public is welcome; early arrival is encouraged. Information: 564-5311, ext. 3, freedomcrossingatfortbliss.com or on Facebook at FreedomCrossing.
Morgan is an American country music artist and an Army veteran. Besides his biggest hit “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” his ten hits include “Almost Home,” “Redneck Yacht Club,” “Little Bit of Life,” “International Harvester,” “Love Remembers” and “Bonfire.” Morgan has just released his new album “A Whole Lot More of Me” featuring his current hit “ I’ll Be Home Soon,” a tribute to the U.S. military.
Hoge first performed in the Let Freedom Sing series with Tracy Lawrence in 2014. He is also the Brand Ambassador for Cabelas and is currently a nominee for iheart Radio’s Rising Star.
Winter is a Midwest country music singer with a focus on a more traditional country sound. He recently released a new single “Lipstick On My Bottle.”
Concerts at the Park — The City Parks & Recreation Department’s free summer concert series is 8 to 10 p.m. selected evenings, through Aug. 5, at San Jacinto Plaza, 111 Mills, Downtown, unless listed otherwise. Information: 212-0092 or elpasotexas.gov/parks.
• Sunday, July 3: Fort Bliss 1st Armored Division Band, rock and traditional jazz
• Friday, July 22: Billy Townes, jazz
• Friday, Aug. 5: 911 N-Effect, Rhythm and Blues
Zumba-Thons and recreation activities are 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 16, 23 and Aug. 6.
Music Under the Stars — The 33rd summer concert series sponsored by GECU and presented by the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department is 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sundays, through July 24. No concert July 3. Admission is free. Information: 212-0110 , 532-7273 (Chamizal), elpasoartsandculture.org or on Facebook at Music Under The Stars.
July concerts are at Chamizal National Memorial, 800 S. San Marcial.
The annual Independence Day patriotic concert with El Paso Wind Symphony and fireworks is 7 p.m. Monday, July 4, at the Chamizal.
• July 10: Volta (Spanish Rock)
• July 17: Discipulos de la Cumbia
• July 24: Mariachi Alegre (Noche Ranchera).
Concertgoers for Chamizal may park at the El Paso Zoo and take a shuttle to the park for free from 6:30 to 10 p.m. (6 to 10 p.m. July 4). Grills are allowed at the park except in the inner part known as the bowl. Smoking not allowed in the bowl area. Glass containers, pets, and outside alcoholic beverages are not allowed in park grounds. Food and beverages will be for sale by the food vendors.
Lights Out! Music Festival — The inaugural festival is noon to midnight Saturday, July 9, at Buchanan’s Event Center, 11540 Pellicano, with local music, art, food trucks and vendors, all using minimal lighting. All ages event. Tickets: $12 in advance (through June 1); $15 at the door. Information: lightsoutmusicfestival.com.
Tailgate 2016 — The annual outdoor concert series in Alamogordo, N.M., raises funds for the Flickinger Center. Concerts begin at 8 p.m. on various Saturdays throughout the summer in the upper parking lot at the New Mexico Museum of Space History. Patrons should bring their own food, lawn chair and beverages. Gates open 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. Season spaces are $180 for six shows (often sellout early). Information: (575) 437-2202. Online reservations at flickingercenter.com.
Single event tickets available for $45 per vehicle. Walk up tickets are $10 ($15 couples).
• July 9: The Hard Road Trio, Original southwestern acoustic music
• July 30: Bobcats, Swing/jazz trio
• Aug. 20: Fungi Mungle, 70s-retro disco
• Sept. 3: Radio La Chusma, Frontera reggae.
‘Every 2nd Wednesday’ — Doña Ana Arts Council hosts a variety of musical performances 6:30 p.m. every second Wednesday of the month at the historic Rio Grande Theatre, 211 Downtown Mall, Las Cruces. Formerly Every Other Tuesday, the free program will now coincide with other Downtown Las Cruces activities like the Night Farmers’ and Crafts Market and Project Main Street. Admission is free. Information: (575) 523-6403.
The July 13 performance is Las Cruces folk and rock ensemble, Pero No.
Lonesome Shark — The rock trio performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 14, High Desert Brewing Company, 1201 W. Hadley, in Las Cruces. Lonesome Shack, featuring New Mexico songwriter Been Todd, along with Kristian Garrand and Luke Bergman, performs “elemental rock stripped down, raw, expressive and danceable.” Their latest album is “The Switcher.” Information: (575) 525-6752 or highdesertbrewingco.com.
Star City Studio — 120 W. Castellano. Tickets: $20 (includes food and adult beverages). RSVP: Rick Kern, 820-8002.
• Guitarist Aaron Goldfarb performs at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 15. Tickets: $20 (includes food and adult beverages).
• World-renowned guitar virtuoso Richard Smith performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Bluegrass Festival — The 21st annual all-day festival begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 16, at the Weed Community Center in Weed, N.M. The event offers continuous live music, food, arts and crafts, plus entertainment for kids. Admission: $15 (free for ages 12 and younger). Information: (575) 687-3611, (575) 687-3680, weednm.org or on Facebook.
Open mic is 8 to 8:45 a.m. with guest bands beginning at 9 a.m.
A Bluegrass gospel devotional service is 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, July 17. Admission is free.
To get there: take Hwy 130, turn right at Cloudcroft, and follow the signs to Weed, which is 23 miles southeast of Cloudcroft.
Mesilla Valley Jazz and Blues Society — The society presents the Black Market Trust at its monthly concert series 7 p.m. Sunday, July 17, at First Christian Church, 1809 El Paseo in Las Cruces. The music begins after a short business meeting. Admission: $8 ($5 members; $1 students with ID). Coffee and dessert reception precedes the concert at 6:30 p.m. in the foyer. Information: Larry Brooks, (575) 640-8752 or mvjazzblues.net.
The Black Market Trust is a five-member American pop/vocal jazz band combining the sounds of the great American crooners and vocal groups with the romantic Eastern European fire and energy of gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.
Mesilla Summer Music Series — The Town of Mesilla hosts ”Friday Nights in the Plaza” live music 8 to 10 p.m. Fridays through July 22, on the historic plaza. Bring a lawn chair; no pets or alcohol allowed. Food truck and arts and craft vendors offered. Information: (575) 571-3890 or mesillanm.gov.
• July 1: Double Clutchers
• July 8: Latin Funktion
• July 15: Gold Hearted Crows
• July 22: CW Ayon.
The Hard Road Trio — The Las Cruces trio of mandolin master Steve Smith, guitarist and songbird Chris Sanders and cellist Anne Luna, presents a KRWG benefit concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 23, Rio Grande Theatre, in the Las Cruces Downtown Mall, playing original southwestern acoustic music at the crossroads of Roots and Bluegrass. Tickets: $15 ($7.50 age 6-18) in advance; $20 ($10 age 6-18) at the door. Tickets available at the KRWG office, Cutter Gallery, or the theatre box office. Information: (575) 646-2222.
‘Viva Big Bend’ Music Festival — “Texas Music” Magazine hosts the 5th annual music festival and conference Thursday through Sunday, July 28-31, in Marfa, Alpine, Fort Davis and Marathon. More than 50 music acts from across the country, representing a variety of styles including alternative, Americana, folk, Latin, pop and rock, will be showcased in several venues.
Tickets: $53; available in advance at vivabigbend.com. Tickets limited; price may increase after original tickets sell out.
Venues include Railroad Blues, Granada Theatre, Reata and Holland Hotel in Alpine; Lost Horse, Padre’s, Planet Marfa and USO Hall in Marfa; the Gage Hotel in Marathon, Audrey Tyrone Kelly Outdoor Theater in Fort Davis..
Performers include Little Joe y La Familia, Los Lonely Boys, Zack Walther Band and Night Glitter (featuring LouLou of Thievery Corporation, John Michael Schoepf of the Happen-ins).
UFO Ensemble — The jazz group performs at 7 p.m. Friday, July 29, at Pelican Spa’s Red Pelican’s outdoor courtyard, 102 Main Street, in Truth or Consequences, N.M. Information: (575) 894-0055 or pelican-spa.com.
301 Live — 301 S. Ochoa hosts live music and DJs. Age 18 and older welcome; dress code enforced. Information: 307-5516 or on Facebook. Guest DJs from around the world perform at 10 p.m. Fridays. Tickets: $10:
• July 1: Hernan Cattaneo
• July 8: Shaded [Sci+Tec]
• July 22: Scarlett Etienne
• July 29: Amine Edge & Dance
Echoes in the Park — Drumming Enthusiasts of El Paso (DEEP) host the open drumming circle, now in its tenth year, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays at Upper Tom Lea Park on Rim Road. Bring your own percussion. Other acoustic instruments welcome. Participation is free. Information: 491-3476 or on Facebook.
Pic Quik Music in the Park — The Las Cruces summer concert series is 7 p.m. Sundays during summer months. No pets allowed. Schedule subject to change. Admission is free. Information: (575) 541-2550 or las-cruces.org.
July performances at Apodaca Park, 801 E. Madrid, and August performances at Young Park, 1905 E. Nevada.
• July 10: Steve Smith & Hard Road (Bluegrass) and Bob Einweck
• July 17: Tequila Nights (variety) and Smokin’ Mirrors (variety)
• July 24: Zoltan & The Fortune Tellers (Jazz, swing) and Allison Reynolds (variety)
• July 31: Unlyshed (variety) and Great States (alt and indie rock)
State Line Music Series — El Pasoans Fighting Hunger and State Line Restaurant, 1222 Sunland Park Drive presents the Rudolph Chevrolet-Honda-Mazda-VW outdoor concert series 8 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays during the summer months, featuring nationally-known country bands to up-and-coming artists. Admission is free; age 21 and older welcome. All customers asked to bring non-perishable food donation or monetary donation for the West Texas Food Bank. Information: 581-3371, WTxFoodBank.org or countyline.com.
After party held following each concert at Aceitunas Beer Garden, 5200 Doniphan.
• June 29: Sorry About Your Sister
• July 6: 7th Ave
• July 13: Abe Mac
• July 20: Southern Brothers Tour
• July 27: The Nightowls
• Aug. 3: Jackie Venson
Speaking Rock Entertainment Center — 122 S. Pueblo Rd. Live music nightly. Age 18 and older welcome. Admission is free, unless otherwise listed. Information: 860-7777 or speakingrockentertainment.com. Free entry.
Spanish rock band Zoe’s lead signer Leon Larregui performs at 9 p.m. Monday, July 11.
The “Make America Rock Again” ’90s alternative rock tour featuring Trapt, Saving Abel, Saliva, Alien Ant Farm, 12 Stones, Tantric and Crazy Town is 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, in the amphitheater.
Spanish rock band Molotov performs at 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29.
Tribute bands are 9 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays, unless listed otherwise:
• June 30: Coldplayed (Coldplay)
• July 2: OzzMania (Ozzy Osbourne)
• July 7: Kenny Metcalf as Elton John
• July 9: The Atomic Punks (Van Halen)
• July 14: Jumping Jack Flash (Rolling Stones)
• July 16: Livin’ on a Prayer (Bon Jovi)
• July 21: Erotic City (Prince)
• July 23: Como la Flor (Selena)
• July 28: The Who Generation (The Who)
• July 30: Led Zepplica (Zed Zeppelin).
Black Orchid Lounge — 6127 N. Mesa, Suite A. The lounge hosts several live music events, including open mic and Friday jazz. Performances begin at 9 p.m., unless otherwise listed. Cover is free, but minimum purchase required. Information: 235-9145 or theblackorchidlounge.com.
• Saturday, July 9: Jesse Phate
• Saturday, July 23: Licomotion
Friday Jazz and Wine live jazz bands:
• July 1: Shawn Mahoney Duo
• July 8: Billy Townes Duo
• July 15: Dan Lambert (guitar)
• July 22: Frank Zona
• July 29: Juan Pablo Macias
Howling Coyote Coffeehouse — The open mic event, now in its 11th year, is 7 p.m. Friday, July 1, at Center for Spiritual Living, 575 N. Main, on Las Cruces Downtown Main Street, following the monthly Downtown Arts Ramble. Signup begins at 6:30 p.m. The community event is on the first Friday of the month. Free admission to participants and audience. Information: Bob Burns, (575) 525-9333 or email@example.com.
The “Howling Coyote” is open to acoustic musicians, poets, storytellers, and singer/songwriters for material that is family friendly. Coffee, soft drinks and snacks available.
Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino — The racetrack and casino, 1200 Futurity Dr. (at Sunland Park Drive), Sunland Park, N.M. offers live entertainment at on select dates. No cover. Information: (575) 874-5200 or Sunland-Park.com.
Free live music is 9 p.m. Fridays, featuring Latin and regional music and Saturdays featuring rock and pop variety. Mariachi music is 5 p.m. Sundays.
Park After Dark performances are 7 p.m. Tickets: $15 general admission; $20 reserved.
• Friday, July 1: Ramón Ayala
• Friday, Aug. 5: Voz de Mando
Live Music at Sombra Antigua — Sombra Antigua Vineyard and Winery, 430 La Viña Road (off NM 28 between markers 8 and 9), in Chamberino, N.M. hosts free live music Saturdays and Sundays. Food trucks available most Saturdays; bring a picnic basket Sunday. Information: (915) 241-4349 or sombraantigua.com.
Chris Baker will perform 2 to 6 p.m. Monday, July 4, for Independence Day.
• July 2: Julio Ortiz, 2-5:30 p.m.
• July 3: David Huerta, 2-5:30 p.m.
• July 9: Jessica Flores, 2:30 to 6 p.m.
• July 10: Tom Kanouse
• July 16: Frontera Jazz Guitarz, 2 to 6 p.m.
• July 17: The Two of Us, 2-5:30 p.m.
• July 22: Jerry & Ed, 2 to 6 p.m.
• July 24: April Ticket, 2-5:30 p.m.
• July 30: Dora & Jose, 2-5:30 p.m.
• July 31: Travis Manning, 2-5:30 p.m.
Zin Valle Free Music Sundays — Zin Valle vineyard, 7315 Hwy 28 in Canutillo (3/4 mile north of FM 259), hosts free live music 1 to 4 p.m. on selected Sundays. Guests may also enjoy wine tastings. Bring a picnic. Information: 877-4544 or zinvalle.com.
• July 3: Dusty Low
• July 17: Ricardo Valencia
• July 31: Gold Hearted Crows
• Aug. 7: James Springer
The Gathering — The gathering of poets, storytellers, singers, and musicians is 1 to 3 p.m. the third Sunday of each month (July 17) at the McCall Neighborhood Center, 3231 Wyoming. Anyone, regardless of age, who aspires to become a poet, storyteller, musician, writer, singer or dancer is welcome to share their talent, fine tune it, and receive feedback if so desired. Admission is free. Information: 490-6440.
Ardovino’s Live Music — Ardovino’s Desert Crossing, One Ardovino Dr. in Sunland Park, hosts live music at 7;30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday. Information: (575) 589-0653.
Open Mic Night — The Pizza Joint, 500 N. Stanton, Downtown, hosts open mic events 8 p.m. to midnight every Wednesday, with music, comedy and poetry. Sign up is at 8 p.m., performances start at 9 p.m. Participation is free; pizza and beer available for purchase. Information: 260-5556.
Sunland Winery — 1769 Victory Lane in Sunland Park, N.M. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Live music each night; call for lineup. Information: (575) 589-1214 or on Facebook.
Salsa Social Thursdays are 8 p.m. with Lalo Ladesma, and free dance classes at 10 p.m.
Country Fridays with David Huerta are 7:30 p.m.; doors open at 5 p.m.
Railroad Blues — 504 W. Holland, Alpine, Texas. Most performances begin at 10 p.m. Admission varies. Information: (432) 837-3103 or railroadblues.com.
• Friday, July 1: Ulrich Ellyson
• Saturday, July 2: Aaron Stephens
• Friday, July 8: The Power Division
• Saturday, July 9: The Warhorse with The Saints
• Saturday, July 16: Jennifer Westwood and the Handsome Devils
• Thursday, July 21: Red Shahan
• Saturday, July 23: Liquid Skin
The annual Viva Big Bend Music Festival runs July 28-31, at various venues.
Folk Fury — KTEP, 88.5 FM, features three hours of acoustic and folk music — with an emphasis on recordings by local musicians and occasional live appearances by them — from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturdays. Hosts are Dan Alloway and Gregg Carthy. Requests: 747-5153.
El Paso Comic Strip — 1201 Airway. Shows are at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8:30 and 10:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets; Tickets: $6 Wednesday and Thursday, $12 Friday and Saturday; $8 Sunday, unless otherwise listed. VIP Booths $10 more per ticket; available at ticketweb.com.
Information, reservations: 779-LAFF (5233), laff2nite.com or on Facebook at El Paso Comic Strip.
• June 29-July 3: Bruce Jingles as seen on VH1, TMZ and Showtime.
• Laughterhours Comedy presents the best of local comics with their Stand Up Standouts at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 6. Tickets: $10 ($20 VIP booths).
• July 7-10: Willie Barcena, 11-time Tonight Show veteran and star of his own Comedy Central special. Tickets: $10 Thursday and Sunday, $15 Friday and Saturday.
• July 13-16: Hypnotist The Sandman. ”Do The Wild X-Rated Show is July 17; $12.
• Doug Stanhope performs at 8 p.m. Monday, July 18. Tickets: $25.
• July 20-24: DJ Cooch, as seen on the “Lopez Tonight” Party Bus.
• July 27-31: Angel Salazar.
• Chingo Bing performs at 7 and 10:45 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 4-6. Tickets: $22.50.
• Christina Alonzo performs at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17. Tickets: $15.
• Carlos Mencia, the man behind “The Mind of Mencia” performs Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 25-27. Tickets: $27.50 general admission; front row meet and greet; $47.50.
Jerry Seinfeld — One of America’s most successful comedians returns El Paso 7 p.m. Thursday, July 28, at Abraham Chavez Theatre. Tickets: $50-$125(Ticketmaster).
John Cleese and Eric Idle — Britain’s Living Legends of Comedy perform “Together Again At Last ... for the Very First Time” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at the Plaza Theatre. Cleese and Idle will blend scripted and improvised bits with storytelling, musical numbers, exclusive footage and aquatic juggling. Tickets: $59.50, $79.50 and $99.50 (Ticketmaster).
El Paso Improv League — Live, unscripted comedy is offered at 9 p.m. Thursdays, at the Pizza Joint, 500 N. Stanton. Information: 261-4060 or facebook.com/elpasoimprovleague.
Recently added to the El Paso playlist:
‘Day After Everything’ — El Paso band Villains Kiss has just released their latest single. The band formed in 2011, consisting of David Delgado on synth, vocals, and production, Tomas Tinajero on drums, Rene Baza on bass and
Andres Paredes on guitar. The band describes their music as “synth pop, industrial overtones teamed up with organic dance beats and energy-driven guitar, topped with dreamy-melodic vocals.” To find this song or more of their music, visit their website at villainskiss.com or look for them on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
‘AuraNGreen’ — El Paso musician Nancy Lorenza Green’s latest solo CD features her on Indian, Native American, and Ocarina flutes combined with chimes, bells and rain stick, and was inspired by children with special needs and elderly people. A three-minute preview of the CD can be heard, accompanied by landscape visuals, on YouTube.
The Rose of Roscrae: A Ballad of the West (Frontera Records) — Tom Russell moved to El Paso nearly 20 years ago, but aside from the occasional concert here at best once a year or two, he’s off the radar of local music lovers. Unless they happen to be fans of folk/Americana or just brilliant songwriting in general. And while Russell maintains a home base in the Upper Valley, most of the time he’s performing across the United States and Europe.
Russell’s first release after his move to El Paso was “The Man from God Knows Where,” a folk opera based on his own Irish/Norwegian roots, spanning the times of his immigrant ancestors to his own youth in California and finally settling in the Southwest. Many of his later works have drawn inspiration from his new home, most notably his “Borderland” album.
During the past two decades, Russell had also been at work on his magnum opus, “The Rose of Roscrae,” a 2-disc, 52-track folk opera that also spans the late 19th and early 20th century. The story centers on Johnny Dutton, an Irish immigrant turned cowboy outlaw, and his lifelong love interest, Rose Malloy. Along the way we meet a cast of characters including an evangelistic marshal who chases Dutton, now known as Johnny Behind-the-Deuce, across North America; and even Father Damien, the real-life priest who ministered to the leper colony on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.
The cast of musicians behind this masterpiece is even more impressive. Besides Russell, whose gritty voice captures the hard-tempered passion of the cowboy protagonist, the album features Maura O’Connell as Rose Malloy and dozens of others, including Joe Ely, Dave Olney, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Gretchen Peters, Eliza Gilkyson, Jimmy LaFave, Augie Meyers, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Ian Tyson. There are recorded pieces from Johnny Cash, Lead Belly, John Trudell, Walt Whitman and Tex Ritter, and accompanying music by the Norwegian Wind Ensemble and Swiss Yodel Choir of Bern.
It also would take as many words to describe the genres of music represented in “The Rose of Roscrae,” from haunting Celtic instrumentals to raucous cowboy songs to gospel to classic Americana and blues. The more you try to describe this work, the more you realize it’s in a class by itself.
The one warning that should come with the album: It’s not easy listening. My recommendation would be to bring the album along on your next long driving trip through the desert, and let it take you on its own journey.
You can find “The Rose of Roscrae” at fronterarecords.com, as well as its companion offering, an 82-page program guide with libretto.
You can also hear some of the music live May 17 at Tricky Falls, where Russell will make one his rare El Paso concerts.
— Randy Limbird
‘El Paso’ by David Keenan — A video of Irish singer/songwriter David Keenan performing a song about El Paso recently went viral, but it isn’t the El Paso you would expect.
“El Paso is the nickname given to my home town of Dundalk as it is situated on the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic,” Keenan explained.
In addition to being a viral hit, Keenan’s “El Paso” will be on the soundtrack of the Texas-made indie Western, “Brothers James: Retribution,” about a pair of brothers who take on the persona of the infamous Frank and Jesse James.
This song, although obviously written about the Irish community, could have a similar appeal to area residents, and Keenan’s beautifully folky voice is enough to appeal to people anywhere.
A video of Keenan performing the song is on YouTube under “David Keenan - El Paso (Live for The Sunday Sessions)” or find the original viral video on YouTube under “Irish Guy (David Keenan) Singing in Taxi.”
— Lisa Kay Tate
“Feel Your Love,” (Beyond Creativity). music video by Ellen M. Wilson. After the global success of vocalist Ellen Wilson’s 2012 album, “Destiny,” Wilson and her band’s live performances were supported by a CAP Grant from MCAD and TCA. She recently moved from El Paso due to a PCS (permanent change of station) move, but she and her producer/keyboardist T.J. Brown begin working on a second album when they came up with a new idea for an electronic pop single and music video. The song, “Feel Your Love,” is about “love across the miles” specifically geared toward military couples separated by wartime. Brown served as director, producer and editor for the project, as well as lending his voice to the song.
Wilson, a military spouse, knows what it is like for a wife enduring separation from her husband during deployments.
The video’s lead is played by Darrin Domko, a retired 1st Sgt.
Whether or not listener come from a military background, it will be hard to make it through this video without both tearing up and feeling appreciation for not only the sacrifices of the those in the military, but of their families as well. Like Wilson’s past video, it also highlights the beauty of the El Paso landscape, but also places Fort Bliss in the spotlight.
The song itself features Wilson’s signature jazzy, pop sound recognizable to fans of her past work.
A video and single release party is 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at Freedom Crossing at Fort Bliss, with video showing at 8, 9 and 10 p.m. and a live performance by Wilson.
“Feel You Love” is available on iTunes and Amazon.
Lisa Kay Tate
“Variations” by Peter Kolar A product of the Midwest, Peter Kolar has an impressive background in sacred music that includes both a career with a leading publisher of Catholic music and service as church music director and liturgical consultant. Kolar, who moved to El Paso in 2005 after marrying a native of the city, is also director of the El Paso Diocesan Choir.
His new CD “Variations” showcases his own performing skills as a pianist, arranger of classic hymns and his own original works.
Much of the music will be familiar to many lovers of classical and sacred music, but each track offers Kolar’s own stylings and arrangements. For example, his “Variations on Hymn to Joy” starts off with a very deliberate, somber recital of the classic choral finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, then moves into different moods and styles.
Nearly all the CD features Kolar as solo pianist, his original composition of “Piece in A Major for Piano and Three Woodwinds” serves as a counterpoint for the rest of the album, not only because of the other instruments but also for its lighter tone.
Kolar, who moved to El Paso in 2005 after marrying a native of the city, recorded the CD in collaboration with local music producer and jazz musician Billy Townes. For more information on the CD, go to wlpmusic.com. It’s also available through iTunes and amazon.com.
“Destiny,” Ellen Wilson El Paso vocalist/songwriter Ellen Wilson’s newest offering is another example of her ability to mesh segments of faith and inspiration with clean, clear vocals and flowing melody.
More pop/rock-infused than her earlier disc, “Songs of Ascent,” Wilson’s sound is still very familiar.
The album starts out strong with the world-uniting invitation, “Someday,” and it continues to flow smoothly throughout. A standout for me was “For You,” featuring a rock anthem-inspired intro and motivating rhythm. These two selections alone are worth giving the CD a listen, but that’s not to say Wilson doesn’t deliver a satisfying musical experience altogether. This is one of those rare albums with no “skip over” songs or low points.
Although “Destiny” demonstrates and Wilson’s ability to experiment and evolve as a musician, fans of her work won’t be disappointed with the results. Likewise, those just discovering her music should find this album enjoyable enough to want to delve back into her earlier work.
“Destiny” is simply a beautiful listen from beginning to end, and it’s refreshing to see a local talent who can not only grow as a performer, but also remain true to herself in the process.
Lisa Kay Tate
Cardo and Friends Richard Schwartz (Cardo) is a native El Pasoan whose music career crisscrossed the country and world before he returned to his hometown. As a concert promoter, he worked with such big names as Rush, Heart and the Eagles, establishing long-term friendships with the best in the music business.
Those connections are reflected in Cardo’s own singer-songwriter album “Cardo and Friends.” It’s a labor of love that draws from his own storytelling style and a mix of musical influences that span bluegrass to rock.
The 15 tracks mostly share an introspective tone of someone looking back at life and trying to make sense of both past and present. Even when he sings of “Chasin’ the Future,” it’s the future of someone who is trying “to make a deal with time.”
The ballads are sometimes bleak, such as “It Could Happen to Anyone” that references violence on “an afternoon in Juarez, across the Rio Grande.” A cross-country driver faces “Christmas Eve Alone.” He wrestles with trying to keep “faith, hope and love” in a “World Gone Wrong.”
The big surprises of this album are the credits. David Kersenbaum (producer, mixer and backing vocals) is a legendary music executive and producer with 75 gold and platinum records on his resume, having worked with the likes of Tracy Chapman, Janet Jackson, Bryan Adams, Duran Duran and Tori Amos. Mitch Perry (associate producer, musical director, backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars) is a guitarist whose work with such stars as Edgar Winters, Graham Nash and Cher go back three decades. John Payne (backing vocals, engineering) is best known as vocalist and bassist for Asia. Those are just some of the musical who’s who members listed on the album jacket, along with such well-known local musicians as Chris Sanders and Steve Smith.
For more information, go to cardoandfriends.com.
Dan Lambert The Double Drum Trio (Coordinate Records) Dan Lambert is a rare breed in El Paso, a musician who actually makes his living primarily as a performer (although he also does private lessons), and one who has been doing so for many years. He typically is found playing at casual but high-quality eateries such as the Magic Pan or Ripe, sometimes as a solo guitarist and sometimes with whatever ensemble he's currently assembled.
Dan is also a true musician in that he's always pursuing some new creative aspect of his art. He's best known as a finger-style guitarist and composer of music that a melting pot of various genres, such as jazz, blues, pop and world music. About 10 or 12 years ago he was on a recording streak, producing a series of CDs that included “The Clearing,” “Melodies/Improvisations,” “Plaids” and “The Blue Hand.” Then he stayed out of the studio for nearly a decade.
He returned in style this year, bringing his newfound oud, sarod and ruan as well as his familiar guitar and accompanied by percussionists Ricardo Amaya and Erik Hickerson to Tornillo's Sonic Ranch. Hidden among pecan orchards at the southeast edge of El Paso County, Sonic Ranch advertises itself as “the largest Residential Recording Studio complex in the world.”
The result is “Dan Lambert The Double Drum Trio,” a collection of Dan's original compositions that spans jazz and Middle Eastern styles. He'll officially release the CD with a dinner show Jan. 20 at the Magic Pan. His music also will be featured Jan. 29 as part of the local music mix for Dance Alive's Belly Dance Extravaganza at the Chamizal.
Pick up a copy at Collectibles, White’s Music Box, All That Music or Ripe.
‘Blood and Candle Smoke’ by Tom Russell (Shout Factory). Russell is another example of El Paso extreme talent, but in this case El Paso can’t take credit for his birth. It took Russell about 50 years to find his way here, making the Upper Valley his home base while touring around the world. Russell is a folk/country singer-songwriter best known for ballads such as “Outbound Plane” and “Gallo del Cielo” that were made into hits by other singers . His El Paso years have been particularly productive his critically acclaimed folk cycle CD, “The Man from God Knows Where” came out in 1999 and his latest, “Blood and Candle Smoke” is the 10th album during the past 10 years. In this CD, his first set of original songs under the Shout label, Russell draws from some of his early years growing up in the turbulent 1960s “East of Woodstock, West of Viet Nam,” studying criminology and teaching in Africa, as well as the influences of living on the border. Russell fans can catch some of these songs in person Nov. 6 and 7, when he performs in Silver City and Las Cruces.
“Kivvunin,” Larry Bach. El Paso Rabbi Larry Bach’s new CD, translated as “directions” or “intentions,” is aptly named, as it carries a definite directive motive. The two most notable songs book-end the CD, including the bilingual, folksy opening track “Ki Eshm’ra Shabbat,” that leads off with Bach’s Dylan-inspired harmonica and lyrics reflecting the importance of the Shabbat (Sabbath). Most of the songs that follow have a consistent, easy-sounding rhythm, serving as mini-sermons based on Hebrew text and common sense values that could we well-heed by persons of all faiths, especially Jewish listeners and Christians who haven’t forgotten the importance of the Old Testament teachings.
One of the catchier songs is “Lullaby,” an English arrangement by Bach of a Hebrew-language song. The repetitive nature-inspired lyrics and flowing beat make it a nice sing-a-long for both youth and adults.
He saves his most personal work, however, for last in “Bob Dylan Came to Town.” In Bach’s reimagining of “The Night Hank Williams Came to Town,” his long-time music idol performs in concert a short distance from his home...on Erev Pesach, a sacred time that ushers in the Passover. Bach’s kind voice and clean guitar complements each other, and if this CD’s “intention” was to give to give the listener a sense of calm, it certainly did the trick.
-- Lisa Kay Tate
“Songs of Ascent,” Ellen M. Wilson. Wilson’s collection of Hebrew and English language songs, many inspired by verses from the Psalms and other books, sounds as home in the Southwest as it would in the mountainous Middle East. The easy-going instrumentals range from solemn piano and flute to jazzier saxophone, all accompanied by Wilson’s clear, silky voice (with accompaniment by guest vocalist Cantor Robbie Sherwin) to give an ethereal appeal. It would be hard not to sit though flowing melodies such as “Shir Chadash (A New Song)” or the closer “Oseah Shalom (Grant Peace)” and not feel at peace. It would be too easy to compare Wilson’s sound to that of the Celtic-based vocalists such as Enya or Loreena McKennitt, but Wilson adds a touch of the desert and her own, rich Jewish heritage to the mix giving “Songs of Ascent” both regional and global appeal.
-- “Thank You,” George Arriola. (Vyking Recordings). This local award-winning singer and composer has been celebrated for instrumental, vocal and writing capability. He new vocal CD is a precursor to his soon-to-be-released progressive instrumental rock CD “All I Wanna Do.” This laidback (albeit brief) EP reminiscent of the 1970s and 1980s soft rock stylings. “For Love” in particular flows like a romantic walk on the beach. None of the songs struck me as stand-outs, but considering what we are listening to is all George, the musical ability is pretty darn impressive.
-- Glenn Leffler, “Acoustic Journey,” Adventures in Solo Guitar.” Leffler’s thoughtful nature and faith are evident selections from the flowing opener, “Pandora’s Box” to the slightly perkier “Pop’s Rag.” The songs are consistent and clean throughout. There are no surprises on this album, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, making this a good choice for the office or early morning back porch lounging.
-- La Guitarra presents Mario Otero, “Down at the Pass.” Otero has a great way of combining the gritty edge of the border with the disciplined sound of classical guitar. The clever narrative at throughout is a suitable tribute to Robert Rodriguez’s “El Mariachi” Trilogy, followed by a series of regionally inspired tunes like the grito-infused “Bandito Concierto” and the heart-breaking bilingual lament of “The Children of Juarez.” Although, honestly, I prefer the instrumentals on this offering, especially the brief “La Vienta” reunion featuring Otero and Stefan Schyga.
-- Stefan Schyga -- “A Winter Romance.” It has been far too long since Schyga has released a solo CD, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Packed with 15 instrumental flamenco-inspired tracks, standouts include the jazzy, mystical “Niko” (joined by Otero) the snaky rhythms of “Bossamenco” and the exotic, percussion-fused “Streets of Marrakech.”
-- Lisa Kay Tate
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