Celebrating 20 years of music

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By Kirsten Laskey

For 20 years Russ Gordon has helped Los Alamos rock.

He has brought everything from the blues to zydeco for the community to feast their ears.  The sound celebration will continue at 7 p.m. May 15 at Overlook Park in White Rock.   

Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers will be the first band to take the stage for this year’s Los Alamos County Summer Concert series.

“I’ve been a big fan of theirs for a long time,” Gordon said.

It’s more than just music. Gordon said he and Piazza also share a birthday, Dec. 18.

He added, “I love the boogie woogie … his wife is a great keyboard player. It’s a real fun blues. It makes you want to dance. It makes you want to holler.”

Gordon said he became introduced to Piazza while he owned his music store.

“I was in the music business,” he explained. “(I) had a store in Los Alamos for 17 years. Every day for 17 years we talked music. Talked and played music.”

What distinguishes Piazza from others is that he is one of the top harmonica players in the world, Gordon said.

Piazza isn’t the only talented musician to come to town. The season will include Igor and the Red Elvises, Balla Kouyte and World Vision, John Nemeth and Rick Estrin and the Night Cats, to name a few.

Gordon said Igor and the Red Elvises play a real fun rock n’ roll, Balla Kouyte has peformed with Yo-Yo Ma  and Nemeth and Estrin are also notable harmonica players.

“This, I think, is our best series yet,” Gordon said. “(I) try to have something for everybody.”

While Gordon has seen many concert series, this one is special to him personally because his whole family will be able to enjoy some of the music.

His daughter, grand-daughter, son-in-law and son will join him. “I just can not wait,” Gordon said. “I’m so excited.”

The concerts aren’t just important to Gordon, however, they are special to the entire community.

“It’s free,” he explained. “It’s every Friday during the summer. It’s a big social event.”

The concerts are something all families of all ages can enjoy together, Gordon added.

Since their inception, the concerts have gone through some evolutions. For instance, at its start, the series was made up of entirely local bands from Taos and Santa Fe.

Gordon added that the quality of the bands has improved.

While finding sponsors and finding funding is always  hard work, Gordon said he has enjoyed putting on this series.

“It’s kept me in the music business … it has always been something for my whole family to  be involved in,” he said. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of really good people.”

If interested in donating money to the concert series, send a check to Gordon’s Concert, 109 Central Park Square, Los Alamos.