Under the perfect evening sky, with the most gentle of breezes blowing through the amphitheater-like backyard venue, Syracuse music lovers welcomed Christian Lopez to New York. Being introduced to his music for the first time, house party attendees were in for a treat from this 21 year old musician and his bandmates Jason Navo on bass and Cameron McClaren on drums.
Despite his age, this young man is a seasoned musician with more than 6 years on the road experience, playing in front of audiences of all sizes, winning them over one by one. Raised in West Virginia, music was always a part of his family as his mother is a music teacher. Encouraged by his parents and subjected to many country music greats including Waylon, Willie, Johnny and Kris, the flavor of those influences as well as his personal favorites blend to become this eclectic mix in his songwriting and playing. Whether it’s a rock-a-billy tune, a slower ballad or an all out rock and roll number, audiences can’t get enough of him from the minute he starts playing and singing.
Listening to him, his voice had a smooth John Denver-ish tone with the ballads, however, as he played his rock numbers I felt him channeling Jerry Lee Lewis’s energy and Elvis’s prowess. Moving around the back yard to capture new angles, I constantly overheard the awe and appreciation from everyone in attendance. I would be remiss not to mention his songwriting skills were top notch as well. His setlist was riddled with these numbers, each as well written as the next. Two covers were sung (“Hurricane”-Levon Helms and “Use Me” – Bill Withers), however, they were sung more like tributes than as covers as you can see below.
Treating us to many numbers off the new upcoming album Red Arrow, produced by Marshall Altman, it’s hard to believe this 21 year old has already accumulated the skill set necessary to become a household name. One can only anticipate, as time goes on, the musical genius to come from this talented young man. Mark my words, he is an artist to remember. Catching the eye of Rolling Stone at the American Music Fest in 2015, and artists such as Amy Helm at Cayamo in 2017, it’s apparent those in the business have already taken heed. Booked already to partake in Rock Boat 2018, that would be one heck of a vacation and a way to be introduced to the talents of this young man, don’t ya think?
Setlist: 1972, Man I Was , Finish What You Started , Someday , Hurricane (Levon Helm cover) , All The Time, Between Us , Morning Rise, Swim, Silver Line , Don’t Wanna Say Goodnight , Use Me (Bill Withers cover) , Caramel, Say Goodbye , Will I See You Again, Steel On The Water