Norteño treasures

Olds Cool/Take Two and Pete Martínez y Suave at this week’s Taos Plaza Live


There is a strong tradition of Northern New Mexican Spanish music that reaches back centuries. Some Taos musicians keep that music alive and blend it with the modern sounds of country, classic rock and roll and other music. This week’s Taos Plaza Live line-up features some of these musicians.

The historic Taos Plaza will resonate with the sounds of Olds Cool/Take Two and Pete Martínez y Suave today (Aug. 24) from 6-8 p.m. The free concert is part of a summer-long concert series produced by the Taos County Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by local businesses.

Old School/Take Two was originally a four-piece father-son band with Frank Trujillo and his son Dalton, and John Martin and his son Keith. Eventually, Dalton left the band to pursue other interests and Philip Martínez stepped in. Martin and Trujillo started playing together when they were young teenagers.

Trujillo commented on how rewarding it has been to play with their sons. “Our sons obviously grew up seeing their fathers involved with music and as soon as they were able to learn they started ... There’s so much satisfaction in seeing your offspring have a love for what you have a love for,” he said.

“One thing I’ve been impressed with is how families pass on music,” added Trujillo. He reflected on the fact that many Taos families have passed music down through generations, naming the Lucero Brothers, Mezcal, Archuleta brothers from Arroyo Seco, and former Taos Mayor Darren Córdova’s family.

“They continue to pass down this love of music,” said Trujillo. “That’s something that’s always impressed me about the Taos area.”

The band’s name, a riff off of “old school,” refers to the fact that, “we’re getting a little bit older in age, and a lot of our music goes back to the era when we first started playing,” said Trujillo. “Take Two derives from the fact that the bass player John Martin and myself in the early ‘80s were playing the Taos area with a band called Executive Sweet.”

Around town, Olds Cool/Take Two plays at KTAOS and The Sagebrush Inn as well as private parties. Those interested in booking the band can contact Trujillo at (505) 450-5961 or John Martin at (575) 776-2431.

Trujillo emphasized that having a balanced life is important to him and his band mates. So, is playing a diversity of music.

“We call ourselves a variety band,” Trujillo said. “Our strong point is going to be our classic rock. We love classic rock. We like the oldies. As years have gone by we’ve come to appreciate country music, and thus, play country music.” They also have brought in some traditional Northern New Mexican Spanish music into their repertoire. And, Trujillo’s original song called “Soy Taoseño” (“I am a Taoseño”) has been making waves and is viewable on YouTube.

Pete Martínez y Sauve play a variety of music, including Spanish, country and some Tex Mex, as well as rock and roll covers. For their Taos Plaza Live show, the band will be Martínez (guitar and vocals), Manuel Duran (keyboard), Brandon Washburn (bass guitar) and William Curtis (drums). Martínez is also the songwriter for the band.

In 2015, the New Mexico Hispanic Music Awards nominated Martínez for both Songwriter of the Year and Best Original Song for “No Quiero Vivir Sin Ti,” the title song from their newly released debut CD. The track was one of the most played songs on stations across Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado.

“Musica de mi Corazon” is the second CD released by Pete Martínez. The album has 10 songs, all original love songs written by Martínez - nine in Spanish, and one in English.

Lately, Martínez has been working on a third CD. It will feature primarily Spanish gospel songs which are sung in the churches of Northern New Mexico. Martínez leads the choir at the San Francisco de Asís Catholic Church in Ranchos de Taos.

“Most of the songs are songs we sing on Sundays at church ... It’s something I hold dear in my heart – gospel music – as much as regular music. Gospel music is a big part of my life and my heart.”

Most of the songs on the CD will be by other artists, but Martínez said he wrote a gospel song recently that he plans to include.

Asked how he chose the gospel songs for the CD, Martínez said, “They’re basically the songs that we play here in Northern New Mexico – the favorites, and then some of the songs that I like as far as Spanish gospel songs.”

Martínez said he has wanted to make a recording of gospel songs for a long time. He recently started talking with a studio to schedule a time to record his new CD.

“It should be coming out soon,” promises Martínez.

Martínez said he and his band usually take their show on the road and play elsewhere in New Mexico and in Southern Colorado. Their Taos Plaza Live show is a great opportunity to hear Pete Martínez y Suave perform aquí en Taos.