Home Music Antonio Lopez Found Roots and Wings​

Antonio Lopez Found Roots and Wings​

by Head Above Music

Colorado-based singer-songwriter Antonio Lopez is releasing his latest album Roots and Wings on January 1. The album comes highly anticipated as over 300 supporters backed the funding with over $21,000. Lopez’s honest and timeless musical influences are heard throughout the album. From smooth rhythms to the artist’s welcoming voice, every track is an easy-to-consume song, but they encompass meanings deeper than one can understand upon first listen. Lopez is known for his powerful lyrics – critics have said “His words may be physically quiet, but spiritually they are louder than a riot” – (Taste Culture) 

“I am a bridge builder. In a world divided, I use music as a unifying force to bridge the gap between racial, economic, and cultural divides. Music is the common ground. The meeting point. A place to both share who we are, and to put aside who we are.”— Antonio Lopez

The concept for Roots and Wings was planted in the late summer of 2018 as Antonio and his wife Georgia were flying back from their honeymoon on Vancouver Island in Canada. While there, Lopez picked up a free newspaper called The New Agora with an article about stepping into this new form of masculinity and fatherhood with a quote from Goethe that hit him in the gut. “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children, one of these is roots, the other, wings” (The New Angora). He read these words in the airplane, flying miles above the ground. Tearing up, Lopez reminisced about his childhood and all the sacrifices his parents made in order for him to have a better life than they had. 

Lopez is the youngest of five children. His mother is a retired second grade school teacher who dedicated her life to educating generations of youth. She grew up the youngest of eleven children. Lopez’s father is an activist and attorney. He and his brother Reyes became lawyers in order to amplify the voices of oppressed people during the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s and 70’s. During this time, the FBI formed a secret branch called COINTELPRO, aimed at infiltrating and disrupting domestic social movements. They often used illegal tactics, and it is believed that these operations lead to the death of his uncle Reyes in a mysterious car bombing at Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO in 1974. The way they tried to silence Lopez’s dad was trumping up false charges, forcing him into exile and into relinquishing his license to practice law for over ten years. He was later exonerated of all charges and gained his license back, but the shadows of those events still loom over the family.

Even though these events happened before Lopez was born, they are an important part of his story. In his own words Lopez says “I choose to share this story with you because I feel the past informs the present. However, I believe the future is not defined by the past. Each of us alive right now are the thread that connects the past with the future. It is now our time. My songs come from my ancestors. My ancestors still exist because I am here. They exist inside of me. They exist through me. Basically, I am their dream. The life that I am able to lead is a life they could only dream of having. When I sing, I’m adding my voice to their voice. Joining them in both words and actions for a better tomorrow.  A better tomorrow for me. A better tomorrow for you. A better tomorrow for ALL of us.”

Antonio Lopez will be celebrating the Roots and Wings release with Stone Cottage Studios with a livestream event on Saturday, January 9 at 7pm MT. A portion of the ticket proceeds will benefit Sound Bridge Music, an organization that empowers and uplifts local musicians. Tickets can be purchased through Stone Cottage Studios here.

How have you utilized live streaming into your performances?

The onset of the Pandemic back in March happened right before my annual Winter of Woodshed Concert. At this show, my band and I usually debut new material I had written over the winter. That show was among the first wave of cancellations, so I decided to do a Facebook live-stream instead. For 13 Thursdays in a row, I live-streamed from my home. The tips from my friends, family, and fans during these virtual shows were paramount in keeping me afloat financially as so much of my work was lost. Since these first streams, I have primarily taken a break from virtual shows. My band and I are performing an album release live stream from Stone Cottage Studios in Boulder on January 9, 2021, at 7 pm MT. This show will feature Hi-def 1080p video and studio-quality audio. The live-streams from Stone Cottage Studios are of the highest quality I’ve seen anywhere on the internet, so I am thrilled that this will be happening.

How do you see the music industry changing after this pandemic?

Do you want the optimistic or the pessimistic answer? (Interviewee laughs) I believe things will worsen before they get better, but we can’t mourn a broken system’s loss too much. We have to move on and build something better. In some ways, it is even liberating. We are freed of the gauntlet! Things we took as the de facto, “That’s just the way it is,” we now have an opportunity to improve. Fortune favors the bold. The artists who evolve and adapt will have a leg up on those who have a negative attitude about the current situation.

A good song, a good performer, and a good audience will always be the Holy Trinity of music. The relationship between these three components needs to be honored and respected, not exploited. I do foresee that the connection between artist and fan will become increasingly more direct. Many of the “middle-men” roles in the industry pre-COVID will go the way of the dinosaur.

Who are you listening to these days?
 
Cory Wong – Cory Wong is a guitarist out of Minneapolis, MN, known for his work with Vulfpeck, session work, and his solo artist career. He is PROLIFIC. Who releases eight albums in one year? Cory Wong does! My favorite album of his 2020 releases is Meditations, an instrumental collaboration with pianist Jon Batiste that veers in the complete opposite direction of Wongs’ usual sound. This album is my current go-to whenever I want to relax or work to some ambient music. Cory Wong is inspiring because he did not throw a pity party about the pandemic and its effect on musicians. He decided instead to release tons of new material, start hosting a podcast with Premier Guitar and provide educational and inspirational video series on his YouTube channel. Does Cory Wong even sleep? 
 
Jackson Emmer – Jackson Emmer is a songwriter’s songwriter. He may be the best country singer you’ve never heard of. Based in the small town of Carbondale, Colorado, his voice is unique and instantly recognizable. After years of the rigors of long bar gigs coupled with the arid, mountain climate, Emmer’s vocal cords became tattered. By 28, he had lost his voice completely. He rebuilt his voice from the ground up, learned to sing again, and a new sound emerged. His latest album Alpine Coda is a masterclass in how to write good songs. My favorites are “I Don’t Want This (Job Interview Song)” and “When The Lawn Gets Dark.” Jackson is inspiring because he is hardworking, talented, and an all-around good guy. You can’t help but want him to succeed. 
 
Steve Kimock – I have always had an affinity for instrumental based music. I think I became a singer-songwriter because it was the most economical way to pursue a music career. My music interests and influences are so much broader than the folk and Americana world. I first became aware of the Steve Kimock Band back when I was in High School and into the jam band scene. Before the modern streaming era, I was part of a community that would trade burned CDs of live show tapings. I traded someone a Derek Trucks Band show I had for a Steve Kimock Band show taping. Since then, I have mostly fallen out of this scene but was reminded of The Steve Kimock Band when they were guests on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts. Their Tiny Desk Concert came out the same day as the death of a dear friend of mine, and their performance was comforting.
 
What is your main focus right now?
 
My new album Roots and Wings will be out on New Years Day 2021. That is my main focus right now. I had a successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year to help fund the release. I am grateful the album was funded, and the recording was completed before the pandemic hit. Leading up to the full album dropping, I have been releasing a series of singles. I am also the executive director of a non-profit called Sound Bridge Music. I have been applying for grants to help the local music community, and I am happy to report that we are starting to receive some of these grants. We will be putting this money to use in service of the local musicians. I have some ambitious plans with Sound Bridge Music heading into the New Year, but I am still connecting the dots, so I can’t say more at this point.
 
In your own words, tell us your story.
 
My name is Antonio Lopez. I am a quiet man who has something to say. That is why I write songs. I am part historian, part observer, and part dreamer; a student of the human race. I grew up in Alamosa, CO, in the high desert of The San Luis Valley. Since 2012, I’ve been living in Longmont, CO. I was green as they come when I first arrived on The Front Range, full of that naive small-town optimism. The first job I had was as a night janitor in the public schools, trying to hustle my first gigs in a new music scene. The seeds of my new album Roots and Wings were planted in the late summer of 2018 as my wife Georgia and I were flying back from our honeymoon. We went to Vancouver Island in Canada. I picked up a free newspaper called The New Agora with an article about stepping into this new form of masculinity and fatherhood with a quote from Goethe that hit me in the gut…” There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children, one of these is roots, the other, wings.” I read these words as I was in the airplane, flying miles above the ground. I was tearing up as I reminisced on my childhood and all the sacrifices my parents made for me to have a better life than they had.
 
I am the youngest of five children. My mother is a retired second-grade school teacher who dedicated her life to educating generations of youth. She grew up the youngest of eleven children. Her father never learned to read or write and started working in Southern Colorado’s coal mines at a young age. My father is an activist and lawyer. He and his brother Reyes became lawyers to amplify the voices of oppressed people during the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and ’70s. During this time, the FBI formed a secret branch called COINTELPRO to infiltrate and disrupt domestic social movements. They often used illegal tactics. It is believed that these operations lead to the death of my uncle Reyes in a mysterious car bombing at Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO in 1974. The way they silenced my dad was trumping up false charges, forcing him into exile and into relinquishing his license to practice law for over ten years. He was later exonerated of all charges and gained his license back. However, the shadows of those events still loom over my family.
 
Even though these events happened before I was born, they are an essential part of my story. My parents’ and others’ work in the civil rights movement allowed me to get a college education in music composition and classical guitar. I see my work as a continuation of this progress. I am a bridge-builder. I use music as a unifying force to bridge the gap between racial, economic, and cultural divides. Music is the common ground-the meeting point. A place to both share who we are and to put aside who we are.
 

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