IN “SHAKE, RATTLE & HUM,” Barbara Norris does an excellent job of reporting on the recent rapid growth of the music scene in Taos. To gain a little extra insight of my own, I called Max Gomez, the youngblood pictured with me at right. He grew up there and stays put, even though his career path as a singer-songwriter would usually call for a move to a music capital like Austin or Los Angeles. Maybe that’s because he senses opportunity right at home.
“The scene is right where it needs to be right now,” Gomez says, “but it’s still in its infancy, and it’s poised to grow up to be somebody. We somehow need to let everyone know we’re here.”
Hey, Max—that’s what articles like this are for!
“I tour towns that are dreadful compared to Taos in terms of beauty and culture,” Gomez says, “and we now have venues that are the same caliber as theirs. There’s no good reason that we’re not a stop on small-market tours, and there’s room to grow for the big bus tours.”
Maybe Taos needs to do more to target musicians who want to go fly-fishing. It worked on Steve Earle, who’s headlining the Music on the Mesa festival in early June. According to Gomez, Earle was originally lured to play Taos with promises that a day of fly-fishing on the Río Grande would be part of the deal. It’s no coincidence that Taos Fly Shop guided the outing. After all, its founder, Taylor Streit, is the ultimate rock star of New Mexico fly-fishing. You may have heard about him from us before, but you’ve never read as in-depth a profile as the one John Muller wrote for this issue (“Old Man River”).
It turns out that Earle isn’t the only one to sing for a chance to fish for his supper. Gomez happens to be buddies with Taylor’s son Nick, who runs the Fly Shop. One day a TV crew needed a campfire singer for an outdoors program, so Nick called Max. “I said, ‘Sure, as long as somebody will show me how to fly-fish.’
“Taylor took me to a little lake and showed me how to cast—and I caught a fish two minutes later.”