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Cassidy Wayant

Antonio Lopez Confronts Crisis With Hope On New Single “Going to the City”

Colorado Folk Artist Pays Tribute To His Upbringing

Colorado musician and composer Antonio Lopez released “Going to the City” on November 12 with a premiere in Taste Culture, citing Lopez’s songwriting skills as “us[ing] his power of capturing humanity in a package that is multi-layered.” The song is a precursor to his Roots and Wings album releasing January 1, 2021.  In the single, Lopez bears witness to the mass urbanization of the planet and mourns the loss of wild places and biodiversity.  “Going to the City” chronicles the migration of Lopez from rural southern Colorado to the more populated metro area of the state so that he could pursue a career in music.

Listeners will note many strategies to communicate the underlying message in the song. The line “To grow further from nature is the nature of the man” repeats itself throughout the bridge. With each repetition, the music becomes increasingly dense and dark. Lopez infuses word-painting, one of his favorite musical techniques, in which the music reflects the literal meaning of the lyrics.  To counteract the dissonance, a women’s chorus enters in slowly; growing in power and in number.  This represents his belief that much of the world’s problems stem from an imbalance between male and female energies.  Ultimately, the message is one of hope.  Lopez says, “It is natural for humans to gather, share ideas, and work together.  In this lifetime, we will be facing our greatest challenges yet.  If we work together and not apart, we have the ingenuity to overcome these obstacles.  In the process, we can transform society aiding in the flourishing of both humanity and nature.”

Antonio Lopez is a musician, composer, and the executive director of the nonprofit, Sound Bridge Music.  He is a quiet man who has something to say.  His music is like an onion.  It has many layers,  each one revealing something more.  At the core, Lopez is a singer-songwriter in service to the song.  His adept guitar work and composition skills are never used in a showy way, but rather like the spices in a delectable home-cooked meal.  The result is a feast of emotions that is a delight to the listener.

Lopez was born and raised in Alamosa, CO, growing up steeped in the Chicano culture of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.  Since 2012 Lopez has been living in Longmont, CO.  Speaking of the move he says “ I was green as they come when I first arrived on The Front Range,  full of that naive small-town optimism.  The first job I had was as a night janitor in the public schools, trying to hustle my first gigs in a new music scene.”  That hustle ethic has paid off as evidenced by Antonio’s newest album, Roots and Wings, which was crowdfunded through a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign.

The concept for Roots and Wings was planted in the late summer of 2018 as Antonio and his wife Georgia were flying back from their honeymoon on Vancouver Island in Canada. While there, Lopez picked up a free newspaper called The New Agora with an article about stepping into this new form of masculinity and fatherhood with a quote from Goethe that hit him in the gut… “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children, one of these is roots, the other, wings”.  He read these words in the airplane, flying miles above the ground.  Tearing up, Lopez reminisced on his childhood and all the sacrifices his parents made in order for him to have a better life than they had.

Lopez is the youngest of five children.  His mother is a retired second-grade school teacher who dedicated her life to educating generations of youth.  She grew up the youngest of eleven children. Her father never learned to read or write and started working in the coal mines of Southern Colorado at a young age.  Lopez’s father is an activist and attorney.  He and his brother Reyes became lawyers in order to amplify the voices of oppressed people during the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and ’70s.  During this time, the FBI formed a secret branch called COINTELPRO,  aimed at infiltrating and disrupting domestic social movements.  They often used illegal tactics, and it is believed that these operations lead to the death of his uncle Reyes in a mysterious car bombing at Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO in 1974.  The way they tried to silence Lopez’s dad was trumping up false charges, forcing him into exile and into relinquishing his license to practice law for over ten years.  He was later exonerated of all charges and gained his license back, but the shadows of those events still loom over the family.

Even though these events happened before Lopez was born, they are an important part of his story.   In his own words, Lopez says “I choose to share this story with you because I feel the past informs the present.  However, I believe the future is not defined by the past. Each of us alive right now are the thread that connects the past with the future. It is now our time.  My songs come from my ancestors. My ancestors still exist because I am here. They exist inside of me. They exist through me. Basically, I am their dream. The life that I am able to lead is a life they could only dream of having. When I sing, I’m adding my voice to their voice. Joining them in both words and actions for a better tomorrow.  A better tomorrow for me. A better tomorrow for you. A better tomorrow for ALL of us.”

Serving as the executive director of the non-profit Sound Bridge Music, Lopez vows to do what he can to help support the Front Range music community navigate the challenges raised by Covid-19.