A piece of Americana was lost last week as the Aztec Motel, which once stood at Central and Aliso in Nob Hill, was demolished. According to this KRQE report, owner Jerry Landgraf, said it would have cost too much—an estimated $1 million (which, in the scheme of things, seems like an insignificant amount of money)—to restore the memorabilia-bedecked landmark, built in 1932. Landgraf now intends to erect lofts or shops at the site. On the bright side, the City of Albuquerque owns El Vado and the De Anza, and plans to restore those historic Route 66 motels.
A higher power (that of hops, perhaps) will be with one of Albuquerque’s favorite country bands at Marble Brewery (111 Marble NW) on Saturday, June 4. The Porter Draw plays this free show starting at 8 p.m. Divine artwork by Brapola, whose inspiration was the question: "If the Virgin Mary were homeless, do you think people would like her as much?" (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Kate Mann celebrates her one-year repatriation to our state with a mini tour of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. On the itinerary are cafés, coffeehouses, saloons and, um, a wellness and healing center, The Source (3538 Anderson Ave SE). That’s not as odd as it might sound. Mann has a strong spiritual side but she’s no stranger to cold cowboy hearts and lukewarm whiskey. Against a vivid Western setting of blistering sun, dangerous rivers and deadly snake bites (from reptiles or humans), her work is all about redemption, whether freely granted or hard-won—as long as it helps you through one more long night. Joining Mann from her old Portland, Ore. stomping grounds is friend Matt Meighan, a finger-picking, storytelling political poet with a message as upbeat as his voice is down low.
Ryan Sollee is a guitar player and the lead vocalist in Portland Americana band The Builders and the Butchers. On Monday, Feb. 7, the band plays at Low Spirits with Murder By Death and Damion Suomi & the Minor Prophets. From the road, by way of a BlackBerry, Sollee gave us a randomly selected peek into his music library.
Jim Sullivan was an American musician who in 1975 left his wife and son on the West Coast, striking out for Nashville to find success. He didn’t make it there, though—his car was found abandoned and motel room unused outside of Santa Rosa, N.M. In ‘69 Sullivan had released U.F.O., an album backed by the acclaimed Wrecking Crew—session musicians employed by Phil Spector on numerous hit songs. Sullivan and his psych-folk-rock masterpiece went mostly unnoticed until late last year when crate-diggin’ reissue label Light In The Attic rereleased U.F.O. NPR’s “All Things Considered” did a story on the album—listen here. Find out more about Sullivan, listen to audio samples or buy the record here.
A pioneering band in Albuquerque’s Americana scene, the Squash Blossom Boys brings expert musicianship and rollicking energy to standard and original tunes. The squashies have played in various locales—bars, growers’ markets, on tour earlier this year opening for the Meat Puppets, maybe even at your backyard barbecue—and the band’s popularity is on a steady upward climb. But even fans may not know the winding path these bluegrass men have traveled.
Listening to the earthy, earnest songs of The Felice Brothers, it’s easy to hear the band’s roots and the influence of its journey. Palenville, N.Y., is a hamlet of about 1,400 residents, nestled at the base of the Catskill Mountains near the Kaaterskill Falls. The fictional character Rip Van Winkle was supposed to have hailed from the town. It was there that brothers Ian, James and Simone Felice, the poor sons of a carpenter, grew up and began playing music. The brothers often held neighborhood jam sessions and played regularly during family backyard barbecues.
Americana is an umbrella term for roots-based musics native to the states, such as country and Western, bluegrass and folk. Despite vast differences, Americana acts tend to join forces, creating juxtaposed yet cohesive shows. It wouldn’t be unusual to find truck-driving country, indie follk and Emmet Otter’s Jug Band all cozying up under one roof. The appeal—be it pastoral, nostalgic or simply unplugged—crosses demographics, too. The music is usually suitable for grandpas, babies, and everyone in between in almost any kind of venue.
Today there is no longer an argument. Yoga is a cultural force and a booming industry. But is it American? Stefanie Syman, author of the compelling and exhaustive cultural history of yoga in America, The Subtle Body: The Story Of Yoga In America, says yes. She’ll be in New Mexico on Friday, July 30 (details below) to make the case and field questions. Until that times, here’s a few teasers from the depths of yoga-Americana—
• Ralph Waldo Emerson was a fan of yoga and wrote a poem called “Brahma” in the first issue of the Atlantic Monthly, but he didn't practice.
• Elvis did yoga (and sang about it) in a movie.
• In 1948, Life featured a photo essay of Marilyn Monroe doing yoga poses.
• President Woodrow Wilson's daughter Margaret became so captivated with yoga that she moved to India and spent the rest of her life on an ashram.
• And let’s not forget the 60’s electric fascination with yoga & sitar. Media darlings like the Beatles, Mia Farrow, Timothy Leary, and Ram Dass helped to popularize the discipline.
• Nowadays, the Obamas feature yoga on the White House lawn.
Syman will be joined by Mark Singelton from St. John's College in Santa Fe, whose book Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice traces how postures, traditionally a relatively obscure aspect of yoga, came to define it.
Spiros Antonopoulos (Ashtanga Yoga Albuquerque | Souljerky) will be your host and guide down these rivers of yogic adventure. Local yoga teacher and entrepreneur Meta Hirschl (Yoga Now), author of Vital Yoga: A Sourcebook for Students and Teachers is scheduled to give a brief introduction.
You can hear Stefanie Syman on NPR (To the Best of Our Knowledge, On Point), or on Expanding Mind (with Erik Davis). And you can read her latest post on the Wall Street Journal's blog (about Tantra, Sting, & Lady Gaga).
This evening’s lineup at Low Spirits (2823 Second Street NW, 344-9555 ) offers a serious but never solemn slice of local y’allternative music. Read all about it here, ya hear? 8 p.m., $5, 21-and-over.