FARMINGTON — Over the past year, Crash Music has brought blues, jazz, country and other music genres to Aztec.

On Saturday, blues musician Jason Elmore and his trio, Hoodoo Witch, will perform the last concert of the year at Crash Music. He will also lead a guitar workshop at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Crash Music owners George Rowe and Sue Rys had an idea early on that blues would be popular in Aztec.

"It turned out we were right," Rowe said. "People will come for really good blues, especially Texas blues."

This year has seen a lot of changes at Crash Music, the most obvious being a change of venues. In May, the Aztec City Commission voted in favor of allowing Crash Music to move into the Historic Aztec Theater. By moving venues, Crash Music was able to expand the number of people that can attend the concerts. And, Rowe said, the move has increased awareness about Crash Music.

In June, Crash Music opened its doors at the Historic Aztec Theater with a performance by The Plateros, a family trio that plays southwest Native rock.

For Rowe, one of the key moments this year was when Joe McMurrian played at the theater on Sept. 21.

"People were just mesmerized," he said. "They didn't miss a single note."

McMurrian was able to get a recording from the concert, which Rowe hopes will soon be available at Crash Music.

Next year, Crash Music will start heavy on blues and country, Rowe said. Rowe said various rockabilly and honky-tonk bands, including Lucky Tubb, will perform in April.

January will feature a CD release party for a local band. Four bands will perform during the party. Crash Music will also host a music merchandise swap meet in January.

After the first half of the year, Rowe said Crash Music plans to expand into other genres. He suspects local audiences will enjoy Cajun music.

"There's a connection between Louisiana and this area," Rowe said.

But, he said, Crash Music will continue to bring in strong blues musicians and host blues-style music workshops and classes, focusing mainly on guitar and harmonica.

"Blues is a real foundational genre," Rowe said.

Crash Music owners Sue Rys and George Rowe pose for a portrait with their dog, Maggie, in April inside the Aztec Theater.
Crash Music owners Sue Rys and George Rowe pose for a portrait with their dog, Maggie, in April inside the Aztec Theater. (The Daily Times file photo)

He explained that blues has influenced a lot of rock and country bands, and the genre is popular because it's accessible.

"It's telling everybody about their own lives," he said.

While Crash Music's concerts tend to be on weekends, Rowe is also working throughout the week, teaching lessons to 15 to 20 students on guitar, bass, banjo and drums.

Rowe said one of the primary missions for Crash Music is to raise the bar for music in the area and get more people involved in music. Rowe said Crash Music wants people to come to shows, even if they haven't heard of the band, because they associate Crash Music with quality concerts.

Right now, though, Rowe is focused on building an audience and expanding genres.

The first part of the genre expansion began this year with the Dirty River Bourbon Show, a gypsy-brass-circus band from New Orleans, La. He said the musical group was a different genre than Crash Music had featured before. And, he said, people generally responded positively to the concert.

"The response we got was, 'Wow -- we've never heard anything like that,'" Rowe said.

IF YOU GO

What: Jason Elmore and Hoodoo Witch
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Crash Music, 104 N. Main Ave., Aztec
Tickets: $12
More info: crashmusicaztec.com or 505-427-6748

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.