It’s easy to see how bands from Albuquerque, and bands in general, can fall into a niche and stay there. Like contented fish swimming in a sea of local talent, they keep their day jobs, practice on weekends and play the bars when they have a free night.
There’s nothing wrong with being a fat, happy fish—but that’s not Nosotros. “We don’t have other day jobs, so we feel like the sky’s the limit as far as what we can achieve,” says Nosotros drummer Dennis Jasso. “We’re able to dedicate all our time to music and see where it can take us.”
So far, Nosotros’ sonic gifts have resulted in four albums, a laundry list of gigs at every forum from national festivals to private gatherings and a spot on the roster of Las Cruces-based Graphic Records. The band has also caught the ear of producer Chris Trujillo, who has worked with Tom Petty and The Black Crowes and is now a percussionist for Nosotros. Grammy Award-winner Doug Geist engineered their latest record, Llena La Alma.
Llena demonstrates the band’s willful expansion into other realms of music besides the more traditional Southwestern style that’s been their calling card. “That style is something that’s very influenced by Mexican music and it’s a sound we all grew up with and love,” Jasso says. “But at the same time, we’re trying to break out of that mold and create more of our own sound. All of us have different influences, from jazz to Led Zeppelin and the Beatles.”
“Hermosa,” the second track on Llena, is a prime example of the band’s efforts to branch out. It has a hip-swaying groove that pulsates with electric guitar energy and, at its climax, launches into a Santana-esque guitar solo that’s part Latin pop and part pure rock ’n’ roll.
Nosotros is committed to the idea of shopping Llena around to major labels and, locally, interest in the band has steadily grown.
“We started playing Fridays at the Albuquerque Hilton in front of crowds of 20 or 30 people,” Jasso recalls. “Now, on any given Friday, you can see between 300 and 500 people at a Hilton Nosotros show.” Jasso says this may come as a surprise to the Downtown barflies who don’t venture past Central for their music fix. “I think people who mainly go to the bars may not realize that we appeal to a wide variety of people who are both young and old.”