Music in the time of corona: An opportunity for musicians to focus, record, grow

by Laura Bulkin
Posted 3/25/20

Like musicians everywhere, those in Taos find themselves suddenly unemployed and at home. Here's what they're doing with themselves:

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Music in the time of corona: An opportunity for musicians to focus, record, grow


Like musicians everywhere, those in Taos find themselves suddenly unemployed and at home. Here's what they're doing with themselves:

Christine Autumn: I do not watch movies about apocalyptic themes. When I have watched these movies I am left with hopelessness for the future of all life on Earth. I was curious about my only gig at the Alley Cantina and was told that it was up to me if I wanted to do my weekly Sunday gig. For now I will wait and see if next week will happen because we do not know what will happen here in New Mexico. I will soak up as much sun as I can and remember this is a moment in life and be thankful for life.

Ernie Marquez: We at El Grupo Mezcal have made it a point to not gig during Lent since many years ago. But we still get together and practice any chance we get. We have some gigs coming up after Lent and we'd like to stay on top of it all.

Quinn Lawson Hall: I feel as a musician, I'm constantly paying attention to vibrations and energies, emotions and actions, wondering how audio could sooth or bring peace to a person's everyday life. Especially during this time of chaos, I find the quietness of the mind to be of utmost importance. To hone in on our own frequencies, and recognize how we can affect the environment we share with all forms of life, virus and all. Personally I've spent lots of time with my family, and while ignoring the hustle and bustle of the world's current condition, I've found it easier to focus on my voice and its creations.

Elena Trujillo: For what it's worth, this lockdown has made me want to actually pick up my instruments and play more!

Adrienne Braswell: I am as contemplative and introverted as usual. Self-containment is not a problem thus far. I'm interested in working on videos of myself singing songs, all self-recorded at home, at this point -- new songs referring to solidarity and other positive responses to this crisis. There seems to have been a revival of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" by countless other singer/songwriters out there, including myself. I've been singing it a cappella at gigs lately. It's so timely. This is an opportunity, hopefully, for us to be thinking about getting back to the garden. I remain hopeful.

Elizabeth Jose: As an artist, my life is hardly any different from usual as I spend most of my time at home with my easel. I am working on a couple of songs with Bob Andrews using Dropbox. Since this virus goes for the lungs, I have increased my singing practice with lots of strong singing and loud vibrating notes to keep my lungs clear and healthy. I am available for singing lessons via Skype or face time.

Bob Andrews: Well, I am already working on an album of original material that I have a tentative release date for in June. I am also working on producing some short videos playing solo, so people can watch at their convenience.

Kim Treiber: We are living in interesting times that require us to step up, grow and respond to what our planet is telling us. That said, we're all pretty freaked out as this is unprecedented in our little town. I am in a high-risk category, so hanging low and quarantined at home, I'm using this time to make pottery, work on the farm, make music. Chip and I will be putting my song "Remember," up on the web, which feels like an appropriate song for right now. We feeling very fortunate to be able, at least at this point, to stay home and make art.

Chipper Thompson: I'm spending lots of time in my studio, catching up on lots of things I've neglected in the last few months. I'm practicing, drawing, writing and getting an early -- though not very efficient -- start on spring cleaning. I'm hoping to -- along with Kim -- put up a song a day on the internet while we're quarantined. It seems like a small and probably not very important thing, but if it will give some comfort to anybody in the community, we'll do it. And it won't be time wasted, that's for sure.

Melody Elwell Romancito: Because I am asthmatic I locked myself down beginning March 12, and that meant I did not sing with my band, The Swing Dusters, when they played March 14 at the Sagebrush without me. In the virtual world of collaboration, we tend to toil quietly in our individual studios with our dedicated audio workstations, and jam with people, not necessarily in real time. And speaking of time, I have an inordinate amount of time right now. I might just crack the case on my Guild nylon-string guitar and dust off the rust. I guess it's no different than finding a paintbrush you really, really like. You stick with it.

Jimmy Stadler: Sunday I played my last night at the Hotel St. Bernard, where I've been for 34 winters. Yesterday I started finishing a song to be on my new recording and did piano scales. Today I will try to clean up my land and then write some more. My first thoughts are that I need this time to practice and get many things done. I hope we can finish the school year as I have a lot of really talented students. I look forward to making the best of this time. Bunny and I will start a puzzle also in these puzzling times.

Kristen Woolf: I was soloist and section leader at St. John's Cathedral in Albuquerque for 10 years -- and I created and ran Opera Tazza, here in Taos. It was heaven! But I always knew I would retire when I no longer felt that I could deliver sublime music sublimely. So being an old lady in a volunteer community choir, I sing with Dixon's madrigal group -- a fabulous collection of music geeks. So now, practicing "sheltering-in-place," I listen to madrigals on YouTube.

Ryan Allais: One can easily become stressed when two-thirds of your monthly income simply disappears. Again, what is a musician to do? Many musicians are turning to livestreams to offset their income - I may soon do the same. I have decided to spend more time at the keys, learning the music of Chopin. I have called and Skyped more friends and family and have even been invited to a virtual happy hour. I have tuned into performances from the Met, to friends playing jazz, to artists from my hometown in Taos.

Joshua Dylan Cunningham: Last summer, in the middle of an artistic existential crisis, I realized I had strayed too far away from my hip-hop roots as a DJ and producer in the electronic/bass music world. While I love this particular scene, it left me feeling like I was not making music with a message, which is ultimately my goal to push culture through art. I'm grateful for this opportunity to have a lot more free time and actually get into the studio and finish this project up over the next few months. Luckily, my girlfriend, Amanda aka Beat Kitty (also an accomplished DJ and producer), who lives in Brooklyn, ended up stuck in New Mexico. I'm so grateful she's here to inspire me, keep me company and collaborate on music during this downtime. She's going to be doing some live broadcast daytime DJ'ing sessions soon from my house in town, so that's something else local to look out for.

Cullen Winter: I was trying to get a recording session together just to spread mirth and merriment, but that has proved difficult even with full body condoms for the band. I guess I'll continue testing positivity and fix a few Subarus (while wearing a full body condom).


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