Music To Your Ears

Laura Marrich
3 min read
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Who Says There’s Nothing to Do in Rio Rancho?— Well, pretty much everyone. Especially the people who actually live there. Of course, there’s Slate Street Billiards and Sports Bar and the shiny new sportsplex, which both make Rio Rancho a happening place for … sports spectatorship. But as far as live music goes, you’re on your own.

"You can’t really get live music up here," says Brandon Cole, general manager of the Turtle Mountain Tap Room. He points out that the closest hub for live music is at Elliott’s in Coralles, which is down the hill and almost in Cottonwood Mall territory. Try walking home through all that after last call.

"So we’re trying to turn it into a venue," Brandon says.

He’s referring to the old Turtle Mountain Brewing Co. building at 3755 Southern SE. The original TMBC just moved a few blocks up the road to a new location (905 36
th Place SE). And rather than leave a prime strip of Rio Rancho pavement vacant, the Turtle Mountain Tap Room was set up in the same place. It’s a satellite bar for the restaurant’s house-brewed beer and, now, Rio Rancho’s first bar-music hall.

The 21-and-over venue has pool tables, karaoke on Tuesday nights and a Wednesday open mic night that was launched a few weeks ago. They have a full PA but no proper stage at this time, but Brandon says that’ll come once they complete a remodel this March. Superkind, made up from Tap Room regulars, has acted as the house band on Friday nights. At the moment, "we don’t have a large pool of bands to draw from," Brandon says.

And that’s where you come in.

Turtle Mountain Tap Room wants you—yes, you!—to come play a gig at the new space. Brandon is extending the invitation to jazz/blues-type acts, rockers, cover bands or any other group with a strong following that’s not shy about self-promotion.

For booking information, contact Brad at 994-0410, or drop a demo off at the Tap Room.

Otherwise, come sample the tasty, fermented wares at Rio Rancho’s newest bar anytime Tuesday through Saturday, from 2 p.m. to about midnight.

Music To Your Ears

New Mexican Correction— In last week’s column, we indicated the New Mexico Music Awards (also known as the MIC Awards, for some reason) were affiliated with the New Mexico Music Commission. They aren’t. It’s confusing. "To make matters worse," says local music champion Cheryl Hooks, "the two entities have similar websites." The Music Commission is at, while the MIC Awards are at "And then, of course, we have Tom ‘Mitch’ Mitchell’s website, which is," which deals primarily in Native American and traditional New Mexican music. Like we said, it’s confusing. Sorry about the mix-up.
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