Kruxfest 2015 (Show at Art Obscura): Alabama Deathwalk, Back of a Car, Asa Martin

kruxfestSo I finally ventured out to a live music show here in Las Cruces, New Mexico. There was a long build-up to last night’s five minute drive to the Art Obscura gallery to see a handful of local singer-songwriters (Asa Martin, Back of a Car, Alabama Deathwalk) ply their respective trades as part of Kruxfest 2015. The seed was planted a few months ago when a friend turned me on to a local art blog called The Truant, which features a detailed music calendar. A quick scan and some random googling then turned up the music of Alabama Deathwalk, a.k.a. Eric Reed. I had been half-heartedly searching for (and not finding) a soulful music scene here in my new town that might partially fill the void left after relocating from Carrboro/Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After three years here I had pretty much given up hope that Las Cruces could satisfy my particular musical sensibilities. These two Alabama Deathwalk songs restored that hope:

There’s such a sincerity in this dude’s voice, and when his music hit me I was like, “Yes. This is something I can get into. I wonder if there is anything else along these lines here in town?” Then a trip to Alabama Deathwalk’s Facebook page yielded a web of connections which formed a local indie-folk-singer-songwriter scene that had been invisible to me until that point. I bought a couple of Eric’s CDs from his Bandcamp site, then started cyber-stalking his musician Facebook friends, starting with KT Neely. When I heard her recordings, I liked them so much that I immediately bought everything she had on her Bandcamp site. I soon discovered that KT works at my favorite local coffee shop, and that she and Eric are a couple who sometimes record songs together:

Clicking around some more on the Alabama Deathwalk Facebook page I soon discovered the likes of Asa Martin and Back of a Car, the other two dudes on the bill last night along with Eric. Asa’s opening set last night was wonderful–at turns charming, disarming, and powerful. Here’s a recent video that gives a good sense of Asa’s vibe:

Back of a Car (a.k.a. Kelley Williams) followed Asa with his own captivating and awesome set. All I knew about Kelley going in was that he works at a local coffee shop/eatery (he made me a great sandwich a couple of weeks ago), he plays a ton of shows around town, and he had the opportunity to open for the legendary John Darnielle (of The Mountain Goats) a few months back at a local benefit show. Here’s a video of Kelley doing his thing, which includes some interesting guitar arrangements on a badass pink electric:

Eric Reed closed the show with a soulful set of tunes that had his friends in the crowd singing along, and had me pumped full of inspiration to run home and work on my own music with renewed energy.

To make a long blog post short, last night’s show was fantastic. I found myself in the middle of a local music scene that seems pretty special. Along with KT Neely, other local musicians were in the crowd showing their support, including members of Decade of the Dead Arcade, a local band I haven’t had the chance to check out yet, aside from this video, which is pretty sweet:

So there you have it. I finally got out of the house and discovered that there is a thriving indie music scene right in my own back yard. Thanks to all of the above for the music and inspiration, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon.

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