Singing the blues

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By Kirsten Laskey

American music has its roots in the blues and Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series is offering a chance to hear the music that has sprouted so many other genres. John Németh will be featured in the concert, which start at 7 p.m. Friday at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area.

Németh describes his concerts as “high energy, lots of improvisation in the show and they’re going to hear great songs.”

He wrote 90 percent of those songs. Németh said Jr. Wells, Otis Redding, BB King and Elvis Presley influence his music. Besides being a singer and a songwriter, Németh also plays the harmonica.

He started playing the instrument when he was 14. “I picked it up because it was affordable,” he explained. “Economics had a lot to do with it.”

It may have been economics that led Németh to play the harmonica, but it was unique qualities of the blues that drew Németh to this type of music.

“One thing I really love about the blues … is it is very passionate music,” he said.

Plus, its delivery is different than other musical genres. Németh said the blues has an aggressive approach. He was struck from the beginning by its spine-tingling, bone-chilling characteristics.

This love for music takes Németh all over the U.S. and Europe. The highlights of touring and performing, he said, is that he is allowed to do what he loves to do and meet great people along the way.

While performing at a ski hill may seem a little out of the ordinary, Németh said he has actually performed at several ski areas including resorts in Wyoming, Montana and other places.

He added ski areas make great venues.

Tom Long, general manager at the ski hill, is happy to have Németh perform at the local ski area.

“He’s a great blues player,” Long said.

Having the concert at the ski area has been an annual event in the county concert series. The Los Alamos Monitor co-sponsors the event.

“We’re just thrilled we’ve been able to participate in that program with the county,” Long said.

He also recognized the work of concert organizer Russ Gordon.

“He’s just a great guy to work for and he puts on a great show,” Long said.