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John Valdez

John Valdez (hosting "El Camino del Canciónes" each Tuesday evening at 9 pm)

Sahuarita High School, Sahuarita, Arizona 1967

Eastern Arizona College, Safford, Arizona; AA Agriculture, 1969 University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona: BS Civil Engineering, 1992

Buenos Dias, mi nombre es Juan “Flaco” Valdez. Easy to remember – just like the coffee guy. I grew up in a small village just south of Tubac, Arizona, 18 miles north of Nogales. My father called me “Remolino” which means “whirlwind” in Spanish. He was a very gentle man and played great piano! We lived right across the road from the Tumacacori Mission in a hot, dusty largely ranching environment. There wasn’t much entertainment but there were dances and festivities at Halfway Station on Kinglseys Ranch. My uncles and neighbors were vaqueros and must have influenced my decision while in college to be a bullrider. I rodeoed throughout Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado in my 20’s. I never thought I would actually come back to the Gallup area to live. When I was growing up it was very common to hear all the great Mariachi music of Mexico. I recall as a little boy on the streets of Nogales, it was not uncommon to see up to 9 or 10 strolling Mariachis. I loved especially the “squeeze box” music – and I still do- Flaco Jimenez- the Squeeze Box King. I’m really a huge fan of the old ballads, and also old time western artists such as Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. I love Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves and His Blue Boys, Hank Thompson and His Brazos Valley Boys and Wanda Jackson and Her Party Timers. Nowadays, of course la musica Mexicana is much more diversified with more instrumentation and talented artists singing cumbas, rancheras and the traditional polka influenced Mariachi music. Since returning to the Land of Enchantment, the land of my biological father, I am tremendously impressed with and enjoy the alegre lyrics and instruments used by the talented artists found in New Mexico. My wife and I went to the festivities in Espanola last year and listened to some great Nuevo Mexicana talent. I’m really looking forward to hearing and sharing more from these artists.