"When it comes to Matthew Baca's musical career, it's all relative."
by Brandt Legg, artical from the Taos News, in Taos, New Mexico.
Matthew Baca grew up surrounded by music. "I don't remember a day when there wasn't music playing in the house," he recalls. From his earliest childhood, he could hear his father, Louis Baca, playing guitar. Matthew Baca took band while attending Taos Middle School and soon was playing several instruments.
When he was 13, his father's band needed a bass player. "I told my dad instead of trying to find someone," Matt Baca said, "he should just teach me to play bass." Suddenly, Baca found himself playing with the grown-ups, learning stage presence and musical arrangement. His parents encouraged his musical path, and Baca played in several more bands through his teens.
More than five years ago, he put together Sentimiento with his father Louis, Roberto Rugelio, Michael Pacheco and Vicente Vega. The group immediately tapped into an audience ready for their mix of originals and traditional Northern New Mexico music.
Their debut self-titled CD starts out with a rollicking version of "Puno de Tierra" and introduces the listeners to Baca's fine vocals and easy style.
The ballad "Ahora Que Estoy Solo," penned by Baca, touches the softer side of the CD and the band matches the feeling of his performance. In fact, the band clicks from the first note and rolls through all 11 songs. Two more songs deserving repeated play were written by his father. The elder Baca's songs come from a life of music, "Porque Me Enganas" and "Suenos," bring the traditional sounds alive in an original context.
Baca dedicated the album to his grandfather, Fidencio Baca, who passed away while Sentimiento was finishing the initial recording sessions for the project. "We chose songs my grandfather enjoyed," Matthew Baca said. "He had a love of music and some of these songs are ones my father heard him play."
The production, arrangement and flow of the record could be mistaken for a high-end L.A. job. Instead, this was accomplished by a dream-team including Baca, Darren Cordova, Jon Gold, Mitch Austin and Omar Rane. Cordova assisted with arrangement and final production; mastering was done by Cordova at his DMC Recording Studios. Anyone who enjoys Northern New Mexican music should own this record that celebrates the region's musical heritage and contemporary sounds performed by two generations of Taos musicians.
Sentimiento has gone through a few changes with the departure of Rugelio and Pacheco and the addition of Danny Martinez on drums, and the new lineup just completed recording their next release. The as-yet unnamed album was recorded at Steve Chavez Recording Studios in Espanola and is due out in a couple of months. "We've matured and broadened our music on this new one," explained Baca, who believes that the most important thing for a band is to show progress on every album.
Sentimiento plays all over New Mexico and Southern Colorado finding that the bigger gigs are mostly outside of their hometown of Taos. "Last Valentine's day we were in Truth Or Consequences, New Year's was Clayton and we're often up in Alamosa and there are lots of casino shows. We have no trouble traveling," Baca continued. "We're fortunate enough to have played so much together."
Venues book them repeatedly at the request of devoted fans and because of their reputation for professionalism and their tight playing. Baca is also involved in a side project with John Archuleta. The pair plays a more acoustically based set with "more traditional style, some Latin flavor and a lot of waltzes." The duo can be seen regularly at Momentitos de la Vida resaurant in Arroyo Seco.
Baca declared enthusiastically, "Music is my business right now, I'm concentrating on that and we want to be as busy as possible."
For more information and bookings contact Baca at 505-751-1781 or contact them online through their Web site at www.sentimientoband.com. Their CDs are available at their Web site or locally at Que Pasa Music and Taos Stereo and TV.
about the writer,
Brandt H. Legg hosts the weekly KTAO-FM 101.9 regional-music show "Spotlight on New Mexico" Sundays,
3-6 p.m., and at www.ktao.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.