Fresh off of a tour from France – CW Ayon delivered soulful blues music from the Mississippi hills to the Rolling Still on Friday (Oct. 8).
Ayon is Southern Cheyenne and grew up in Reserve, NM (a tiny village that rests in Catron County). He now lives in Las Cruces, NM and has been a full time professional musician for 11 years. Two years ago, his stand up bassist left New Mexico, leaving Ayon to perform solo again. He’s set up with acoustic and resonator guitar, harmonicas, and a kick/snare and tambourine.
When Ayon first picked up the guitar he was a student of Stevie Ray Vaughn. Later, he became enamoured with Mississippi blues musicians like Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside.
“Then I started listening to what he was listening to, and I just followed it,” said Ayon.
Ayon then saw blues musician Richard Johnson perform at the Silver City Blues Festival which inspired him to become a one man band.
“I bought a drum kit and sat in my garage for like two months just teaching myself how to play and use my feet at the same time...I booked my first gig in ‘09 and it’s been downhill ever since,” said Ayon laughing.
Taos was his first stop on being back on the road in the States. A month ago he was in France (with one gig in Belgium) – his third time playing his music abroad.
“They love American music – jazz, blues, country. They build entire festivals around it,” said Ayon.
In Las Cruces, Ayon plays with a group of “older guys” that play 60s rock and blues. However, they don’t play his style of music.
“They're more trained musicians. So they're waiting for changes. And this is based on one chord and a groove. And you kind of feel like when ‘Oh here comes the change,’ but it doesn't change. So it throws guys,” said Ayon.
Ayon believes that this style of blues is for everyone. In southern New Mexico such as Las Cruces, he gets a lot of requests for songs to two-step dance to.
“It’s good drinking music … everybody gets fired up and starts buying whiskey,” said Ayon.
In addition to the blues, Ayon sprinkled in some Allman Brothers and mariachi music into his set. He played for hours going over his time limit by almost 30 minutes. Many people went up to him and complimented him after his set was over. Ayon left the next day to Fort Collins, Colorado and circled back to Taos to play at Arroyo Seco Live for Indigenous Peoples Day.
His newest album “What They Say” is available on his website at cwayon.com and Bandcamp.