The Baca Family
“The Baca Family” who like many others here in the state of New Mexico their musical history dates back several decades and in this case three generations. It began with Max Baca Senior quite the accomplished accordionist and musician who in the 50’s competed in organized accordion battles with musicians from our neighboring state Texas where accordion dominance was always evident, but guess what Max Baca senior held his own. Henceforth began his friendship with players like Flaco Jimenez and others. In the 70’s brother’s Jimmy Baca and Max ‘Donny,’ Baca Jr. began their solo musical journeys when they formed the highly regarded group Los Hermanos Baca and had major success in the state of New Mexico and beyond. A major move to Texas by Max Donny Baca Jr. soon followed where he founded the Grammy award-winning group Los Tex Maniacs. He was soon joined by the third generation of musician
Josh Baca is the son of brother Jimmy Baca. It didn’t take long for Josh to become a household name in the conjunto scene. The Tex Maniacs were sanctioned by the Smithsonian as ambassadors to the world representing Conjunto Music.
The Lopez Family
“The Lopez Family” who hails from our State capital Santa Fe and who’s roots and musical origin date back to the 1950s when Father Gilberto Lopez Sr. was already a seasoned musician in the Northern Part of the state, Then came the boy’s Gilbert and Jerry who at five and six years old in the early ’60s began their young entertainment careers. Many recordings and live performances soon came. In the early ’70s joined by younger brother Lenny came the birth of their first full family band “La Compania”. A move to the entertainment capital of the world Las Vegas Nevada soon followed. The group was discovered and went under the guidance of Industry giant Bobby Morris who was the music conductor for Elvis Presley and so began the transformation from La Compania to Vegas power group “Santa Fe” and later Sante Fe and the Fat City Horns. Thru the decades National and International success has followed with musical ventures that include Tom Scott, Ricky Martin, Luis Miguel, Grover Washington and Clint Holmes to name a few.
We will learn a lot more about them at this years induction ceremony
A Lady who was adored by all who knew her or was a fan of hers and that is “Linda Cotton” A native New Mexican who graduated from West Mesa High school here in Albuquerque. Linda became a household name in the local and regional music scene and was referred to as New Mexico’s First Lady of Music.
For 30 years plus she could be found dawning concert halls, clubs, and hotel lounges thru out the state with a beautiful yet powerful unique voice. She was once a special guest vocalist with The New Mexico Symphony Orchestra at the prestigious Pope Joy Hall. She also found time in her life to serve as a community advocate where she was on the Board of Directors with The Barrett House which was a shelter for homeless women and families and also The Alliance for Albuquerque Animals. Linda was credited with opening the door for many of our talented female vocalists who followed. Sadly we lost Linda much too young at age 55 in 2004 but her music and memory will forever be enshrined in this year, 2020 class.
We’ll learn more about Linda at this year’s induction event.
Tim Pierce” An Albuquerque native who grew up and attended Highland High School. At a very young age, he fell in love with the music he heard on the radio in the ’60s. At the age of 20, the obvious move was to Los Angeles where he had immediate success both as a studio musician and a performance guitarist. So much so that he landed the lead guitar position with international sensation Rick Springfield. This went on for several years as Tim toured the world. In the late 80’s Tim decided he would make the move to dedicate his efforts exclusively in the studio. This turned out to be a monumental decision as he quickly became one of the most sought after studio guitarist’s in the world. He was named one of the top 10 session guitarists by Guitar World Magazine. Tim has recorded on well over 1,000 sessions and just to scratch the surface names like Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, Seal, Michael Jackson and the list goes on and on. We will learn a lot more about this phenomenal Artist in our induction show later this year.
Master Trumpeter “Tony Lujan” who’s credentialed read like the who’s who of world-class Jazz musicians. This native son of New Mexico credits his initial music interest to his Father who played trumpet, accordion and was a vocalist. Growing up in the Albuquerque public school system’s music programs Tony showed incredible potential early. At age 14 and a member of the Albuquerque Youth Orchestra, he was to meet for the first time another person that Tony says changed his life and it was World-renowned Jazz Giant Clark Terry. Tony became his apprentice and says that Clark not only coached him in Jazz but explained the spirituality that is more often than not gifted to this level of player. His credits are much too numerous to list but I’ll mention a few, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, and so on. A truly fascinating individual and we will learn more about Tony at this year’s induction ceremony.
Peter Amahl Amara
“Peter Amahl Amaral” who for close to 50 years has made New Mexico his home. His percussion skills have opened doors for him both around the USA and in many parts of the world. As a member of groups like The Drifter’s, The Coaster’s, and Martha and the Vandellas to name a few, his musical background is well versed. As a member of Junior Brown’s band, his opening act credits include Super Star’s Bob Dillon, Toby Keith, and The Dave Mathew’s Band, quite the resume. A major contribution to New Mexico came when he was one of the founding member’s of the legendary Organizations ‘The New Mexico Jazz Workshop’ and ‘The Madrid Jazz Concert Series’ which introduced the like’s of Eddie Harris and Ritchie Cole which began a rich culture of concert’s and music clinics which have continued to date. We’ll learn a lot more about this living musical a historian at this year’s Induction ceremony.
Val De La O
Michael E. Sanchez Lifetime Achievement
Let’s Meet Val De La O
The son of a migrant field worker and in search of work the family relocated from Greeley, Colorado to New Mexico. In 1960 without funding his TV Show Val created a TV Show and got the local ABC affiliate KOAT TV to agree to carry the show. That lasted one year, then moved to the CBS affiliate KGGM TV which lasted four years. Then came his best and the last relationship with the third local option which was the NBC affiliate KOB, TV and that lasted much longer and was instrumental as a catalyst for his national syndication endeavors. The show was now available in more than twenty major viewing areas from coast to coast. This was the first programming of this type in an alternative language available across the country and it was based out of Albuquerque, truly historical. Because of the success of the show nationally recognized personalities like Kirk Douglas, Muhammad Ali, Jose Feliciano, Don Knotts, Ken Curtis, and Freddy Fender to name a few soon became common practice. Being a proud American whenever Val had a total English speaking guest he always made them feel comfortable by conducting the interviews in English. Henceforth another first, the birth of bilingual TV. The biggest thing that came from the locally based show was the fact that Val never excluded local musical talent but in fact featured it, granting countless numbers of New Mexico-based and some Texas musicians the opportunity to be seen nationally. After retiring from TV Val successfully pursued a whole new career in Alternative Health Care. For all these reasons and many more Val De La O is the recipient of the prestigious Michael E. Sanchez Life Time Achievement Award.