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Rio Grande Revisited: Backroads of Albuquerque

Jerry Thompson, graphic design

Sun. 11/19 11a: Join journalist Kent Paterson for a trip back and again to the Rio Abajo south of Albuquerque. This documentary explores the historical, cultural and musical connections between rural communities and small towns and the big city, with an emphasis on La Joya, Belen and Isleta Pueblo. Hear interviews and sounds that were originally aired on KUNM in the late 1990s with updated material.

Among other topics, the program examines the impacts of the Great Depression and World War Two, revisits the old New Mexico dance hall scene, hears the back stories of Albuquerque musicians Felix Peralta (Felix y Los Gatos), William Bluehouse Johnson (XIT, Jo Harjo and Poetic Justice, the Incredible Woodpeckers) and Carlo Bluehouse Johnson (Red Earth, Native Roots), and drops in on a legendary blues music jam. Plus, unsung heroes of the metro's music scene. Co-produced by Mercedes Mejia. Support from the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund of the City of Albuquerque and the McCune Charitable Foundation.

Bonus Audio
Unplugged: Willy, Carlo and Kent

Willie and Carlo - Full Interview.mp3

In an extended interview, hear indigenous musicians William Bluehouse Johnson and Carlo Bluehouse Johnson converse with Kent Paterson. Their conversation digs into 60-plus years of Albuquerque, Native American and U.S. music history; the different genres influencing contemporary Native American sounds; culture, politics, ethnicity and art; surviving the COVID-19 pandemic; and the status of local musicians. Hear about William’s collaborations with Bo Diddley, drummer Randy Castillo (Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe), XIT founder and Native music producer Tom Bee, former U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and Robert Nakaidinae, among many others.

Carlo talks about musical influences growing up, and his time in XIT, Red Earth and Native Roots. Hear memories of long disappeared and legendary Albuquerque metro area live music venues including the Caravan, Fat Chance Bar and Grille, the Pow Wow Club and the Thunderbird Bar in Placitas. Learn about the formative contributions of the old BlackJack’s and Wild West Music stores and the late Louie Campos to the development of modern Albuquerque’s music scene. Also, William’s “day job” as a tribal judge. Additional comments by KUNM DI Jonathan Longcore on the music world then and now. Recorded at KUNM on August 7, 2023.

Copyright 2023 KUNM