FARMINGTON — Todd Wolfe, a blues musician from Pennsylvania, first came to New Mexico in the mid-1990s when touring with Sheryl Crow's band.
The band performed in Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque, and New Mexico left a lasting impression on Wolfe. So, when he was invited to play at the Animas River Arts and Entertainment Blues and Brews Festival, he jumped at the chance to return.
On Saturday, Wolfe and his band will be performing at Riverside Park in Aztec as part of the Blues and Brews Festival. The festival is an annual event put on by Animas Rivers Arts and Enterainment, a group that brings musical festivals to the Four Corners area and provides scholarships for young artists. The festival will start Friday night and continue from noon until 10 p.m. on Saturday
Music has been an important part of Wolfe's life. When he saw George Harrison playing with the Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show," Wolfe knew he wanted to be a guitar player. But before picking up a guitar, he strummed a tennis racket because he didn't have a guitar.
"I got pretty good at strumming a tennis racket," he said, although he admitted it probably didn't help him much with playing the guitar.
Wolfe finally picked up an actual guitar when he was in his early teens.
Despite originally being influenced by the Beatles, Wolfe found that he identified more with the Rolling Stones, which had more of a blues background. Wolfe said he's never seen himself as strictly a blues person.
"I'm more of a product of the '60s," Wolfe said.
Wolfe first met Sheryl Crow when she was performing as a background singer for Michael Jackson in 1987. A few years later, she invited him to join her trio. Wolfe was part of her touring band from 1993 until 1998, when he left and formed his own group, the Todd Wolfe Band.
This weekend's festival will also feature the Avey Brothers from Iowa, Shari Puorto from California, the Michael Lee Band from Texas and the Daddy Mack Blues Band from Tennessee.
Daddy Mack is a five-piece band, led by singer and guitarist Mack Orr.
As a child, Orr would listen to blues legends such as B.B. King. He said he longed to be able to do something like that.
Orr said he initially started playing guitar when he was a boy, but he gave it up for a while. Then, when he was 45 years old, he picked it up again.
"Better late than never," he said.
Orr said people can do anything they want to do.
"You've got to put your mind to it," Orr said.