MADE MUSIC: Daniel Solis inspired by tradition

When Unwound decided not to play together anymore, that’s when “Daniel Solis” really started. He started playing acoustic again locally at Luna Mansion, Teofilo’s Restaurante in Los Lunas and Pete’s Cafe in Belen.

“Now I was playing a whole variety of music – country, Americana, folk, rock and, of course, Spanish. It went very well,” he said. “The Torres family were wonderful and I liked them so much that I stayed for a few years. I wrote constantly.”

During that time, Solis recorded his third album, My Kind of Friday Night, in 2016, which was all country — the Daniel Solis style, which is not traditional country, but rather unique.

“The way I do the arrangements is not normal for country music,” Solis explained. “I just fixed it the way I liked it. The lyric writing is getting a lot better.”

Feeling more confident about his lyrics, music and performance, Solis eventually formed another band with Scott Ross, a drummer, from Belen; Quintin Zunie, on guitar, Gallup; Kevin Martin, bass guitar, of Grants; and Tony Chavez, steel guitarist, of the Grants.

“We’ve never had a test … not even once,” he said. “They are top notch, they are professionals. We all do our homework and if we do well on stage then it works.”

Solis’ next album, It’s Just Me, recorded in 2019, took off and several songs became fan favorites, including the original “Vacation Time.”

“That album was quite complementary when it came to songwriting. I liked almost all the songs… there were a couple I didn’t really care for,” he said. “They all worked and became very popular in their own little ways. People would come up to me and ask us to play some songs.”

That same year, Solis recorded his first Spanish album, “Sobrevivir” (Survival) at the same time as “It’s Just Me”. There are a few songs he translated into Spanish, like “Maria Isabelle” which he turned into a ’90s country song.

“Besides the traditional New Mexico music, that was the key to putting me on the map of New Mexico,” Solis said. “Original country music wasn’t driving things, and New Mexico doesn’t have a radio outlet for any other country artists other than Spanish music. Now there is internet radio, but up until 10 years ago, there was no way to get your music heard unless you sold CDs.

Sobrevivir” was well received because it was a fresh sound and had not been heard before. It has unique arrangements and song selections.

With the album gaining recognition and getting radio time, Daniel Solis’ band was on the move, playing all over the casinos and being invited to play at events, weddings and parties. He was busier than ever – with music, with work, with family.

It was then that Daniel and Natalie made the decision to have their third child – Daniella – who was born when Covid hit. While the pandemic halted his performing career, Solis enjoyed every minute of it.

“We went camping, we spent a lot of time outside, just together,” he said. “I missed the performance, but it didn’t hurt because we were so happy with Daniela and our family that it took all the time. I couldn’t perform, so I ended up writing another album, Here’s to You, which was released in 2021.”

This album is very special to Solis, as each song is original and written specifically for special people in his life – his wife, children and others.

Last year, Solis released his second Spanish album, “Lo Que Hago Mejor.” As his skills as a producer and engineer have improved over the years, he is very proud of how the album turned out.

A bilingual track, “La Gente Esta Loca” on the album was named Crossover Song of the Year by the New Mexico Hispano Music Association in January.

Now having lived in his adopted hometown of Belen for the past 14 years, Solis says he made his best music while living and performing in Valencia County.

“Being able to play my music in Valencia County has really gotten me to where I am,” says Solis. “When I did my acoustic shows here, it helped me get my name out there, but it also helped me personally. Now I get invited to play at local events.”

Solis has been a regular performer at the world’s largest Matanza and Rio Abajo Becker Street Festival in Belen, and the Fourth of July event in Los Lunas.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *