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Letter from Socorro New Mexico

      Hey all…some of you already know this; I moved to Socorro NM August 9th. Big change at 70. I was gonna write a detailed account of all that happened, maybe another time. I will say this; I love it here. 10,000 people, the home of New Mexico Tech, a highly regarded University, and the Very Large Array radio observatory is 50 miles west, one of the most important astronomical sites in the world. Simply; after 49 years in Colorado, and a very good musical career, I was not digging living in Denver anymore. The high prices, the “gentrification,” the incredible amount of development, the noise; just not happening for me. I was not playing out much anymore, which was fine by me, but was feeling closed in, nothing to look forward to, no future. I had been thinking of moving for at least a year, and the Socorro connection came together really fast. I still feel sorta stunned; I am 500 miles away from Denver, in a great 1 bedroom casa that I pay $750 a month for. My electric bill this month was $14, as was my car insurance. There is no traffic, but yeah, still some goobers in loud cars, but way different than the drag racing all over Denver. This city seems to have stopped developing about 1950, ha. Trying to describe how it’s laid out is difficult; there appears to be no logical reason the streets go the way they do, some only going a few blocks before they disappear. Lotsa abandoned buildings and vacant lots; it seems that when a house is empty, it stays that way for years. Streets turn into dirt roads. Private property signs on many houses, that’s fine by me. People seem to keep to themselves a lot down here, and again, okie by me. I live on the SW side of town; closer to the college, up north, it looks a little more normal, but still pretty haphazard. It’s a hoot.

   What I did not expect was the great music scene I’ve found here. I am semi retired, not trying to get much of anything going; but it turns out many folks here love music, and play, study, and really appreciate good music. I got in a very good blues band, Blue Monday, and we’re at Socorrofest this Saturday (poster attached). Starting to play with some other people as well, and picking up some students. I also have a few Denver folks who are staying on with Skype. There’s a great club, The Capitol, and there’s music there all the time. The Farmer’s Market on Sat is also a fun gig, a social scene, and a lot of great organic food. Of course, the New Mexican landscape is breathtaking; I wanted to live in the desert since I read “Journey To Ixtlan” in 1973…here I am. Been on a couple of walkies, many more to come. It is the boonies out here. Yes, the college is perhaps the centerpiece of Socorro, and it’s not uncommon to find PhD’s playing in the local bands, and taking lessons. I have been into astronomy since I was 5, so having the VLA so close is great. Turns out the singer and bassist in Blue Monday both worked there for years. It’s pretty ez to have some great conversations. Yup, I’ve been told there’s some meth issues, and overdoses, as well as some rather poor folks. It is a city after all. Socorro was founded in 1580 by the Spanish, who had come up from the south, and were helped by the local Indian tribe here. Only St Augustine is older. The Trinity nuclear bomb site is a bit east, and Roswell is not far either. Oh yeah, the harmonica player in the band, Bobby Olguin, won a chili cheeseburger cook off with celebrity chef Bobby Flay in 2017; how can you beat that, ha? The physicists from Trinity, such as Oppenheimer, used to come to San Antonio, just 8 miles south, to eat back in the day, at the Owl Cafe, also known for it’s burgers. A lotta history in the area.

   I am very glad I moved. Went to Albuq today for weasel food and to hang with Rahim. I was reminded how much I dislike big cities once again. I do not miss Denver in the slightest. I was fortunate; I was renting, had no real attachments in Denver (cept for my daughter, but we’re always close), and was lucky to get connected here with Francie, who rented me the casa, and is also a fine musician herself. What is to come, I do not yet know. I feel Socorro is a very unique place, some sort of special energy here. I am starting to really feel retired; no pressure to do much of anything, which is not the easiest feeling for me to feel…but I love it. I feel really accepted here for who I am; the people I’m meeting are a real good bunch. I’ve been told you tend to love it here or hate it; I’m in the first category. I like the funkiness, the strange layout. When I stand in my yard, seeing 3 times as many stars as I did in Denver, as well as the dust of the Milky Way; hard to beat.   Looking forward to the future for the first time in years; also a great feeling. More updates to come…all bestest…Hstick  (Oh yeah, all the groups at Socorrofest are from here, cept for Lee Rocker)