Growing up in New Mexico (he’s lived in Socorro, Quemado, Reserve, and other areas of the state before moving to Las Cruces in 2001) CW Ayon remembers listening to his mom sing, but it wasn’t until he met his wife that he started getting into music himself. “She had a guitar and she taught me to play. That was 20 years ago,” he remembers.
From the beginning, it’s always been about the blues for CW. He started studying the genre by observing other musicians and asking them how to play certain keys and chords. He picked it up little by little and started playing in bands, until he saw a one-man show at a blues festival and decided that was the direction he wanted to go.
While he does play covers of both popular—think, Muddy Waters and Stevie Ray Vaughn—and obscure blues songs, he’s also released seven albums of original songs for which he’s won two New Mexico Music Awards. CW says his sound is based on a style called Hill Country Blues originating in the northern part of Mississippi. ”It’s the type of music that you’d hear at house parties or backyard BBQs. It’s very danceable. People think the blues are sad songs, but it’s really a celebration of surviving the bad times,” he explains.
CW likens the music scene in Las Cruces to “a big family.” He’s jammed with most of the established local acts including Cordova, Flat Blak, and Border Avenue, and he enjoys playing at the smaller venues in town, like High Desert Brewery and NM Vintage Wines. “It’s cool being able to be just five feet from the crowd and right there as they get fired up, screaming and whistling and dancing,” he notes. “I just love being a part of something like that.”