It isn't often that the Taos Community Auditorium offers popular music concerts, but thanks to a new initiative by AMP Concerts, locals may get a chance to rock in the aisles.
This week, blues artists Corey Harris and Cedric Watson will take the stage of the TCA for a show that is sure to have audiences grinning from ear to ear. The show is planned Friday (Jan. 25) at 7:30 p.m.
"Explore the extraordinary living culture of the blues with two artists grounded in both tradition and contemporary experimentation," a press release states.
"Harris has earned substantial critical acclaim as one of the few contemporary bluesmen able to channel the raw, direct emotion of acoustic Delta blues without coming off as an authenticity-obsessed historian," according to his online bio. "Along with Keb' Mo' and Alvin Youngblood Hart, he raised the flag of acoustic guitar blues in the mid-1990s. Although well versed in the early history of blues guitar, he's no well-mannered preservationist, mixing a considerable variety of influences - from New Orleans to the Caribbean to Africa - into his richly expressive music."
As for Watson -- a four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, singer, accordionist and songwriter-- this artist is considered "one of the brightest young talents to emerge in Cajun, Creole and Zydeco (Louisiana French) music over the last decade." Originally from San Felipe, Texas (population 868), Watson made his first appearance at the age of 19 at the Zydeco Jam at The Big Easy in Houston, Texas. "Just two years later," his online bio states, "he moved to south Louisiana, quickly immersing himself in French music and language. Over the next several years, Cedric performed French music in 17 countries and on seven full-length albums with various groups, including the Pine Leaf Boys, Corey Ledet, Les Amis Creole with Ed Poullard and J.B. Adams, and with his own group, Bijou Creole."
Watson and Harris met in Louisiana when they were both recording with Boubacar Traoré and experienced an immediate common musical bond, an AMP Concerts press release states. "Cedric will accompany Corey on blues fiddle and do several solo numbers. Both artists will be performing together during the majority of the show."
Tickets to Corey Harris and Cedric Watson's concert are $22 and for reserved seats $27 (including all service charges) and may be purchased via HoldMyTicket or by phone at (505) 886-1251.
AMP Concerts became an official business on Sept. 10, 2004 and a nonprofit corporation in 2007. Prior to that, AMP founder Neal Copperman spent four years putting on house concerts, sporadic small shows and volunteering with a variety of local music organizations, according to its website.
"AMP's goal is to complement the music available around town, working both independently and in collaboration with many other local groups to provide additional chances to experience world, folk, acoustic and Americana music," the web "about" continues.
In addition to being one of the producers of ¡Globalquerque! -- New Mexico's Annual Celebration of World Music and Culture -- it set its sights on expanding north. In March 2015, AMP opened a Santa Fe office headed by longtime Santa Fe promoter Jamie Lenfestey. "AMP seeks to provide the same great, community-focused programming to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico, tailored to the specific needs and interests of the community."
Now, as evidenced by its shows in Taos last year -- David Bromberg, Michael Franti and Spearhead, and The Family Stone -- local fans are picking up the vibe, a kind of wave caught when AMP books acts at other venues in the state and then brings them north for a little Taos time-out.
Watch for other shows AMP Concerts are bringing to Taos: Martin Sexton -- with what Rolling Stone calls his "soul-marinated voice," acoustic guitar and a suitcase full of heartfelt songs. This tour will feature Sexton trying out new material, as well as reinventing his own classics for these critically acclaimed solo performances -- joined by Chris Trapper on Wednesday (Jan. 30), 7:30 p.m. at the TCA (tickets are $35). Plus, "An Evening with George Winston on Feb. 5, 7:30 p.m. (tickets $39 advance, $43 day of show). The Taos Community Auditorium is at 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte and is managed by the Taos Center for the Arts.
That's not all. AMP is also bringing Trampled by Turtles, Bob Schneider and his Band, and Béla Fleck and the Flecktones to Taos Mesa Brewing. Watch Tempo for dates.
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