Sat, 13 January 2018
Our guest this week on the Art of the Song Coffee Break is Taos singer/songwriter Max Gomez.
Though still only in his twenties, Max Gomez has always had the heart of an old soul. As a child, the first songs he learned to sing were originally recorded in the 50s by Johnny Cash. As a teenage guitarist he adopted Big Bill Broonzy as his blues master. And as a budding performer, he apprenticed in the rarefied musical climate of northern New Mexico, where troubadours like Michael Martin Murphey and Ray Wylie Hubbard helped foster a folk and Western sound both cosmic and cowboy. You’ll find his hometown of Taos and nearby Red River right there between Colorado and Texas on both your sonic and Google maps. Splitting his childhood between there and a farm in the Flint Hills of Kansas, Gomez is at home in the heartland, too.
The youngest of five brothers, by several years—“That’s why I got into ‘old’ music”—Gomez got a children’s guitar for Christmas when he was 10. The family moved from Santa Fe to Taos in the ’80s, and his father, Steve, became a furniture craftsman. “There’s a similarity between my dad’s work and mine,” says Gomez. “He really studied what he did; there were always a lot of books on old furniture in his studio.”
Gomez reports that growing up in Taos was “wild. It’s still the Wild West compared to any city or suburb. You can get away with just about anything there, and we were turned loose as kids.”
At 14, when Gomez performed at a benefit concert, he played “Sunday Mornin’ Coming Down”—the down-and-out classic by future labelmate Kris Kristofferson. Soon thereafter he was playing at a late, lamented institution of a venue called the Old Blinking Light. “The school I went to was playing in that bar,” he says. Country greats like Mentor Williams and Lynn Anderson frequented the place that led them to become fans of his music.
Gomez moved to Los Angeles at 18 to pursue his music career and began writing songs and performing around the city at many notable clubs. He wrote some songs with Shawn Mullins, who later recorded them. “That’s when I began taking it all a little more seriously and turned my music into a job,” says Gomez. n his early twenties he began recording his own songs with producers in New York, L.A., and Nashville. His debut album, Rule the World, was released in 2013 by New West Records, home to the likes of John Hiatt, Buddy Miller, and Steve Earle. Soon after, Kiefer Sutherland directed the music video for the single “Run From You.”
Gomez grew up in a rich musical environment, but represents more than the sum of his influences—he’s got that ineffable and instantly recognizable x-factor called talent. Melodies that flow naturally. Trenchant lyrics that express wise-beyond-his-years observations on the ways of the heart. Laconic phrasing in a cafe mocha timbre, and guitar skills that can stand alone. In short: the whole package.
The STANDING 'O' PROJECT is about fair trade music streaming--excellent musicians and exceptional fans taking over the music business. You're invited to find good, new, non-commercial music in a venue that lets musicians have an actual revenue stream. Come and connect with artists on a whole new level. Support musicians with an unheard of 50/50 split of proceeds. And gain access to rare music, video and interview content. You can be part of this revolutionary community and matter to the music at www.standingoproject.com