Americana artist Max Gomez recalibrates

By Ariana Kramer
Posted 5/2/20

Americana singer-songwriter Max Gomez spoke to Tempo recently from his home in Los Angeles about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected his life and plans. Originally from Taos, Gomez splits his time between the City of Angels and his hometown when he isn't out on the road. Gomez has been billed opposite musicians such as Shawn Mullins, James McMurtry, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Patty Griffin and John Hiatt.

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Americana artist Max Gomez recalibrates

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Americana singer-songwriter Max Gomez spoke to Tempo recently from his home in Los Angeles about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected his life and plans. Originally from Taos, Gomez splits his time between the City of Angels and his hometown when he isn't out on the road. Gomez has been billed opposite musicians such as Shawn Mullins, James McMurtry, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Patty Griffin and John Hiatt.

How have you been affected by the coronavirus pandemic?

I make my living playing music in front of an audience. Overnight my job was gone.

How are you spending your time?

I've been working from home, which is not a new concept for me. I always work from home as far as writing and recording, and working on all things for my business, booking shows, etc. The bulk of it happens at home, and then, of course, I travel to play shows.

What did you have planned for this spring?

I had a run of shows planned in Texas in late March, Kansas in April, and shows in Canada in May that have all been canceled. Like countless others I've had to make some big changes to my plans. Lately, I've been working on livestream shows online.

When did you do your first online live performance?

My first shot at a show broadcast on the internet was in late March. It was an overwhelming success! And now I'm actually busy working on more. I've been performing as part of various events online and doing my own shows each month. For May, I have shows scheduled for the 23rd and 24th.

How is performing live online different or similar to performing a show in-person?

It's a very different feeling if you let it get to you but a large part of music is to connect emotionally with songs. I think as long as I do that I can't distract myself with the fact that I'm playing to a cellphone camera.

Have you been doing any songwriting? What are you writing about?

I'm trying to write a song right now called "Weather the Storm" that's sort of a metaphor for many of the challenges we face. The term "weather the storm" is, of course, an old figure of speech. It lends itself to the notion of climate change and coronavirus and hardships of any kind. That's something I'm working on, and I'm always working on songs, love songs and story songs. That hasn't really changed too much for me during the shelter-in-place regulations.

One of your musical heroes, John Prine, recently passed away from COVID-19. Do you have any words to share about him and his influence on you and your music?

Hats off to him. He was one of the best songwriters to have ever lived and a gem of a man at that. I feel lucky just to have been around to appreciate him. His talent and songs will only become better known as time goes on. That's how good he was. It's just terrible that this virus is what took his life, but John Prine was, and always will be, larger than life.

What is your summer looking like at this point?

I'm in the same boat with so many others when I say, "I'm not sure." If I can get started on recording more music during all of this then that's what I'm gonna do. If I can't, I think I'll go to the Mora Mountains, where my family has a ranch. Live out the pandemic close to the land and away from all the noise.

Are you still planning the Red River Folk Festival?

We are still planning the festival. We have to plan on it. But if I had to guess I'd say it's definitely going to look different this year. Or perhaps our festivalgoers may be looking at it differently as they tune in from home.

Anything else?

I wanna say that if you're going through it thanks to this virus, keep going. There is a light. Everything's changing and with any luck, we'll come out the other side of this stronger and smarter. If you can, support your favorite restaurants, artists, local businesses, newspapers, etc. And if you get a chance, check out one of my livestream shows online. Thank you all for your continued support.

For how to tune in to online shows, visit Max Gomez online at maxgomezmusic.com or facebook.com/maxgomezmusic.

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