Head down to Taos Plaza Thursday (June 7) from 6 to 8 p.m. for Taos Plaza Live, a free weekly summer concert series produced by the Taos County Chamber of Commerce. This week's concert features a variety of upbeat, danceable music by local bands Take Two and the Uz Band.
Take Two is named for its double father-son duos. Longtime friends and fellow musicians John Martin (bass) and Frank Trujillo (guitar, lead vocals) started the band with their respective sons, Keith (drums) and Dalton (guitar). Since getting married, Dalton Trujillo has stepped away from the band, and Philip Martinez has stepped in. However, for their Taos Plaza Live concert, the younger Trujillo will return to the stage.
"Frank and I have been playing music around here forever - since the '80s," says Martin. This is relevant to note as much of the music the band plays dates back to the 1980s: think Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. Take Two also digs back into earlier eras to cover bands, such as The Rolling Stones. And, the band throws in newer material as well.
"Basically, what we try to do is pick songs that not only we like but that hit a note with the listeners, songs people can relate to," said Martin.
He says another consideration in choosing their material is that the songs they pick are danceable. This makes Take Two a popular choice for weddings, graduation parties and other private gigs. In addition, Take Two enjoys performing at local venues, such as KTAOS Solar Center and Old Martina's Hall.
But, Take Two is not only a cover band. The group writes original songs in both English and Spanish.
Martin said, "I just love to play music. I think that's where we're all at.... I love to play music with my son and Frank's son. They're younger. And, it's real interesting and exciting to see them grow and become better musicians."
Offstage, Martin owns Martin Builders and all three of his sons work with him in his building business. He also builds hot rod cars and is currently working on fixing up a diesel truck. Frank Trujillo owns Frank's Budget Appliance Repair and his son, Dalton, works with him.
The Uz Band plays a variety of music - from traditional Spanish rancheras to Iron Maiden's hard rock, along with country western (classic and modern), alternative and classic rock, and oldies. Band members are Joey Córdova (drums, vocals), Joseph Madrid (bass, vocals), Marcello Vialpando (lead guitar, vocals) and Matthew Trujillo (lead country guitar).
Córdova emphasized that the variety of the music they play has helped with the band's success. "People like the different styles of music," he said.
This past year, the Uz Band has been busy. They released their second CD, "Quiero Darte." The CD was recorded at ATM Studios in Hernandez, New Mexico with Archie Maestas as the sound engineer.
The Uz Band performed three shows at the New Mexico State Fair last September. One show was at the Bucking Bar outside of Tingley Coliseum, which has a country western focus. The other two shows were at the state fair's Villa Hispana.
The Uz Band traveled throughout the state, playing at several casinos, including Fire Rock Casino, Camel Rock Casino and Ohkay Casino. Their music has been played on the air in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.
"We're doing pretty good with our tunes," said Córdova. One of these is a new rendition of an old mariachi song that Córdova and Vialpando used to play in high school mariachi band. The song, "Como Quien Pierde Una Estrella" is an old Alejandro Fernandez tune.
"We converted the song from mariachi to Spanish rock," said Córdova.
This year the Uz Band will be playing a number of private shows at weddings, graduations and other parties. In addition, Córdova said, the band will be playing at some music festivals in Southern Colorado.
In Taos, the Uz Band is scheduled for Music and Movies on the Green at Kit Carson Park June 20. Look for them at the KTAOS Solar Center in July. Also, on July 6, a special show is planned at the Sagebrush Inn to celebrate the class reunion for all 1980s students of Taos High School. It will be the 30th reunion for the class of 1988, but the party is for all 1980s classes.
"The Uz Band is a pretty tight group. There's not one front man," said Córdova. The band's creed, modified from the Three Musketeers, is: One for All and All for Uz.
"We're all in it together. We've grown to be not only a group but a family, brothers. We've been able to stick close together," Córdova said.
Taos Plaza Live is sponsored by Taos area businesses. For a complete summer schedule and listing of sponsors, visit taoschamber.com/taos-plaza-live-music-schedule.