Get ready for weird and crazy tunes in Carbondale | PostIndependent.com
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Get ready for weird and crazy tunes in Carbondale

Stina SiegPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Couresy photo by Darien Davies
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CARBONDALE, Colorado This Saturday, people will be tearing into meaty goodness and partying up this last bite of summer. Its late August, and KDNKs Blues and BBQ Fest is a true Carbondale tradition.And, as Omar Torrez put it, hell be there to turn his own traditions on their ear.Im just going to go crazy, do weird, crazy things, said Torrez, this years main musical act. The crazier the better. Im just going to go for it, even if I break something.How Carbondale of him.But its not as though Torrez, 36, was always this out-there. In fact, the Latin-jazz-blues rockers musical tastes have been all of the place. Thanks to his grandmother, he started out learning the classical canon on piano from the time he was 8. He was urged on by his father, a Mexican-born musical dancing machine (Torrezs words) and painter who loved Hendrix and playing guitar at parties.By the time he grew into a teenager, it was the 1980s in Seattle. After learning guitar, he started playing fast and heavy, but that didnt last long. He quickly delved into Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, old B.B. King songs. By college, his attention turned to music with a different flair. He was studying flamenco and Cuban styles, and it felt right as though he was paying homage to his varied ancestry.Its almost like a blood memory, he explained.After that, he was in several rock and Latin phases, and he combined all his musical influences whenever possible. His stuff could sound smooth and jazzy or raucous and fiery, and he was absolutely unafraid to whirl together genres to his liking.It seems to be the only legitimate form of expression for me is a mixture, he said, because I am a mixture.He released CDs. He toured. He won musical competitions. He and his band were doing their thing, doing well.Then everything was turned on its ear.Thats just what happens when Tom Waits calls.Several months ago, Waits was looking for a guitarist to round out his upcoming tour. After hearing Torrez and studying up on the guy, he invited him to play with him with a personal phone call.Needless to say, Torrez said yes. He toured with Waits from June until just a few weeks ago. How could it not be mind-blowing?

In Torrezs words, it made him want to do something a little more unique.Waits wasnt satisfied with normal. He didnt just want his band to be good. He wanted them to be different. Now, Torrez expects no less of himself.At least make it crazy, he said.Of course hell still read the audience, hear what they like, what they dont. But he wont pander to them. Hes played enough festivals to know that crowds arent into that. What they want, and what he wants, is to feel a real connection, real communication without a conventional conversation getting in the way.Its just an exchange, an exchange of energy, he said. An exchange of ideas, spirit.His tunes will have a completely new flavor, too.Now, Ive got to go back and tear it all down, he said, add some hot sauce to it, maybe some ice cream and maybe slip in a mickey or two and then shake it.And he sounded hungry for that.


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