By Esther Sanchez
In a valley overflowing with musical talent, there are always hidden gems to be discovered. One of the most underrated and obscure of such locals is Alex A. This young, Coachella Valley native is a multi-instrumental phenom whose skills on the guitar are as diverse as they are brilliant. As a vocalist, I have had the privilege of working with Alex frequently over the past few years and I can say with all sincerity that, whether he is performing as part of a group or as a soloist, his exceptional skills capture the attention of anyone who listens.
Alex A: “I started out with piano lessons at age 7, then moved on to saxophone at the age of 11 and eventually guitar at the age of 12. I haven’t put down the guitar since. During my early 20s I started a 13 piece Latin band here in the Coachella Valley called Alex A. & The Desert All-Stars, which quickly became a favorite project for musicians and audiences alike. Unfortunately, as much as I loved that project, after years of performing together, I was no longer a part of it. Call it band politics or relationship issues…either way it was a tough blow. It can be incredibly difficult to watch a pet project fall apart and even more difficult to pick up the pieces and continue working on. I definitely felt that took the wind out of my sails for quite a while. Lessons were learned and the memories of that will always stay with me.”
When I think of Alex’s skills in music, one of the words that always comes to mind is “eclectic.” I have yet to see anything the guy can’t do when you put a few strings in his clutches.
Alex A. “I’m in a number of groups these days. Among them are The Road Runners (old time rock n roll), Irie Junctions (roots reggae) and Techno Hillbillies (lounge improvisational/jam band).
But, these days I primarily focus on solo work. My solo act is mostly instrumental jazz standards, boleros and oldies. Its great ambient music for cocktail parties, fine dining events, etc. I perform with both nylon and electric guitars. I’m often complimented for playing at volumes that allow the guest to chat without yelling. I also enjoy playing weddings and divorces. Yes, people throw divorce parties.”
Although Alex is a proud desert boy, born and raised, over the years he his talents have taken him all over the world.
Alex A. “I’ve been fortunate enough to play music in many parts of the world from Europe to China and Korea, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Canada and Mexico. I have also had some amazing opportunities to play at some unforgettable events such as playing with Tommy James and the Shondells in Las Vegas where I was made an “Honorary Shondell” for stepping in on the day of the performance because their guitar player was stuck in the Dallas Airport. In 2009, I played Stagecoach with The Jon Linn Band and possibly the pinnacle of my life thus far was opening for B.B. King at the 2nd Annual Rhythm, Wine & Brews Festival in 2013.”
In his short lifetime, Alex A’s musical abilities have taken him to many extraordinary places and circumstances. A truly humble dude at heart, he doesn’t feel in the least that he got there on his own.
Alex A. “I want to give special thanks to a lot of people who have seen me through my journey thus far… Tom Hegarty, for helping raise the musician child that was I and giving me wings to fly.
Jon Linn – responsible for arranging life-changing gigs and the 78′ Gibson Les Paul 25/50th anniversary I still own (Dad helped get it too), Kristen Reinhagen for thinking of me to open for BB King. My booking agent, Kristie Beasley @ KB Live Management, my local group of musicians here in the Coachella Valley that are always giving support and encouragement at our jam sessions, Allegra Angelo for opening my eyes to the world of musical theatre. I’ve learned so much from you, Allegra. Of course, my parents Alejandro and Jessie, for all their love and support. And last but certainly not least, Esther Sanchez and CV Weekly for deciding I’m worth the time to feature.”
If you want to check out Alex A. in the flesh, you have many upcoming opportunities to do so.
Thu. Oct. 27, 4pm-7pm Third Annual Taste of East Valley @ Shield Dates Farm (solo)
Fri. Oct. 28, 6pm-9pm @ Rancho Las Palmas w/ Road Runners (RR)
Sat. Oct. 29, 10am-1pm @ Oscars in Palm Springs (solo)
Sat. Oct. 29, 11pm-1am @ Bart Lounge in Cat City w/ Irie Junctions
Sun. Oct. 30, 7pm-12am @ Palm Canyon Roadhouse (hosting jam or Jam Host)
Fri. Nov. 4 ,6:30pm-9:30pm @ Palm Desert Country Club w/ RR
Fri. Nov. 4, 11pm @ Street Event Westfield Mall w/ Irie Junctions
Sat. Nov. 5, 6pm-9pm @ Dish Cuisine in Palm Springs (solo)
Thu. Nov. 17, 6pm-9pm @ Wang’s in the Desert (solo)
Fri. Nov. 18, 6pm-9pm @ Congo’s (solo) Tentative
Sat. Nov. 26, 6pm-9pm @ Ironwood Country Club w/ RR
Fri. Dec. 2, 6:30pm-9:30pm @ PDCC w/ RR
Sat. Dec. 3, 6pm-9pm @ Wang’s in the Desert (solo)
Sat. Dec. 10, 6pm-9pm @ Avondale Country Club w/ RR
Thu. Dec. 15, 6pm-9pm @ Coldwell Bankers w/ RR