Alibi V.27 No.12 • March 22-28, 2018 

Best of Burque Music 2018

Individual Performers

Musicians are a funny lot. As children many gravitate toward an instrument or technique that they find both challenging and familiar. By the time adulthood approaches—mysteriously yet much anticipated—many young instrumentalists, singers and composers have found their individual voice through the interactions they have with the physicality of the musical process. Whether ripping out massive riffs on the guitar, writing epic symphonies or vocalizing all angelic—or demonic depending on the circumstances—this town has a profoundly rich community in tune with that thing called chops. Here’s a list of folks our readers say hold the key to that interactive process.

Best Songwriter

Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin
courtesy of the artist

Alibi readers chose Kyle Martin as the best songwriter in these here parts of the high desert. With a brand of music the artist calls “Westrock,” this rocanrol cowboy came straight outta the south central part of the state, heavily influenced by things on the Tejas side of the border but still inspired by the sounds and culture of Nuevo Mexico. He’s got killer tuneage, as is evidenced by his entire new album, Broke Down. A guitarist after my own heart, Martin digs Van Halen and ZZ Top; things that’ll get him on many a top pick list—including mine.

2) Eddie Brewer

3) Delphia

Best Composer

Dylan O'Connor

Dylan O’Connor
courtesy of the artist

Dylan O’Connor is one of the big, if drunken, brains behind Moonshine Blind a band who everyone wishes a major record deal for and which, consequently, also won in the categories of Best Album and Best Single. He’s the fellow who penned “Fuck You Die” a rollicking, hellbent hillbilly tune that will no doubt go down in history with other legendary Burque-birthed compositions lke “Crashing Airplane” by the Ant Farmers or “I Like to Die” by the Drags.

2) Billy Bellmont

3) David McGuire

Best Guitarist

Danny Pohl

courtesy of the artist

Danny Pohl is the lead guitarist for The Despots, a multi-tentacled rocanrol beastie that dominated this year’s Best of Burque Music voting. His style, somewhere between drawling rockabilly and arpeggiated hair-rock sent audiences into a frenzy this past year and now here he is, with the rest of his mates, killing it at home with a fancy axe in hand.

2) Ryan McGarvey

3) Myles Chavez

Best Bassist

James Whiton

James Whiton
courtesy of the artist

James Whiton is perhaps one of the most accomplished musicians in Albuquerque. Besides that, the dude can rock like nobody’s business. He was part of the legendary Apricot Jam back in the ’90s; he was also part of an essentially exquisite blues-rock trio with for realz axe master Eric McFadden back in the aughts. When Whiton returned to Burque a few years ago, it wasn’t to retreat, but rather to conquer. Rock on, brother.

2) Steve Wild

3) Dawn Tarpley

Best Drummer/Percussionist

Karra Booher

The drummer for local cover band Coach Gun and a full-fledged member of a musical outfit mysteriously known as Rhythm Mercenaries won this year’s prize for best drummer/percussionist. Additionally Booher played with Lincoln County War and not surprisingly, The Despots and the band that came before them, Eddie Brewer and the Manic Episodes.

2) Kris Kerby

3) Billy Lorne

Best Piano/Keyboardist

Eddie Brewer

The highly convoluted gray matter of several local musical endeavors, Eddie Brewer is a hot yoga insructor who previously fronted Eddie Brewer and the Manic Episodes and now is the shirtless rocker upfront in local multi-award-winning pychobilly concern The Despots. This multi-instrumentalist man about town also tickles the ivories with prize-winning aplomb, according to our noble readership.

2) Tony Orant

3) Pete Gabaldon

Best String Player

Emily Anslover

Emily Anslover is everywhere. Here awesome fiddle playing graces outfits like the Silver String Band. Anslover was named the New Mexico state fiddle champion when she was a senior at Eldorado High School in 2011 and since then has been making a name for herself. That name coincides with excellence and musicality that reaches far beyond her years. Congratulations, Ms. Anslover, Burque’s own sweetheart of the rodeo.

2) Greg Dupy

3) James Whiton

Best Sax Player

Josh Coleman

Josh Coleman
courtesy of the artist

A true transplant—in as much as he plans on staying in Duke City, N.M.—Rapid City, S.D., native and Albuquerque resident Joshua Edward Coleman is a 23-year-old jazz recording artist who is busy completing his bachelor’s degree at UNM while continuing to perfect a talent that has been described by Smooth Jazz Magazine as having “grace, spontaneity, creativity and total command of his instrument.”

2) Carli Marshall

3) Delmone Taylor

Best Trumpet Player

Paul Gonzales

Gonzales is a trumpet player by trade. He’s a rock-solid member of the local scene, from his teenage placement as the first chair trumpet player in the All-State Symphonic Band through his founding of premiere Burque cool jazz ensemble Tetragon in the ’90s to his current associations with Son Como Son and Straight Up, a post-bop, straight with no chaser ensemble led by Santa Fe percussionist John Trentacosta. Gonzales is another damn busy session and side man here in Burque who also jams with Latin jazz group Tradiciones and Spanish popsters Sparx. And get this: While doing all that, dude used to be an Albuquerque firefighter, tambien. Not bad for someone who’s also a music professor and jazz DJ.

2) Bobby Shew

3) John Marchiando

Best Other Instrumentalist

Skyler Loving

The harmonica player for Moonshine Blind, a much lauded outfit in this year’s iteration of Best of Burque Music, Loving handles an instrument that few would dare. I mean look what happened when Bob Dylan gave it a spin. Just saying. Skyler’s idiosyncratic, intuitive playing lends itself to chaos and order, which makes his sound a perfect compliment for the rowdy and raucous bands he associates with.

2) Dave Devlin

3) Emily Anslover

Best Female Vocalist

Delphia

Delphia

For a while it seemed like torchy, totally terrific vocalist Delphia was focused on conquering Santa Fe. Then she landed in Albuquerque (with an interview in these very pages) and a new chapter in her career truly began. Audiences around Albuquerque loved what they heard; now the artist is someone to be reckoned with, here in the city, in the state and probably soon in the whole dang nation too. Delphia’s got chops to bust just about everyone in El Duque; go check her out before she flies off to El Lay or Seattle. Please.

2) Margarita Wild

3) Lilah Rose

Best Male Vocalist

Tylor Brandon

Tylor Brandon’s band, the Tylor Brandon Band was voted as the Best Band of All Time by voters in this year’s Best of Burque Music reader’s poll. Using a combination of silky-smooth utterances and smoky shout-outs to country life, Brandon can easily convince listeners that the only type of music in the world can also be called countrypolitan, but it ain’t got nothing to do with rocanrol.

2) Adam Liston

3) Dylan O'Connor