By Noe Gutierrez
Palm Springs based performing and studio guitarist Nicholas Sosa is poised to release his debut album ‘Protocol’ a mix of original Jazz, Blues and Fusion featuring some of the best musicians in the Coachella Valley. In 2019 he was nominated for ‘Best Instrumental Performance’ at the Coachella Valley Music Awards. With influences from Jimi Hendrix to Joe Pass to Paco De Lucia to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sosa has a bit of everything in his repertoire.
Sosa has had a passion for music for as long as he can remember. He began with the violin at the age of 7 and started playing guitar in his early teens with a beloved Fender Telecaster. Sosa reminisced, “I was hooked! As soon as I started playing I knew music was what I wanted to dedicate my life to. I’ve been blessed as an adult to be able to fulfill my dream of becoming a full-time professional musician.” Sosa is a 2012 graduate of Musician’s Institute College of Contemporary Music (MIT) in Los Angeles. After a brief stint of playing and working in his home state of Maine he returned to California, this time settling in sunny Palm Springs.
Sosa has collaborated with studio producers in the Los Angeles area, including individuals who are Grammy award winners. He has also done online session work with several producers from Europe. His catalogue includes a diverse repertoire of styles including Classical guitar, but he always return to his roots of Rock, Jazz and Blues as he demonstrates in ‘Protocol’.
‘Protocol’ is an all-original studio recording and is currently in the final stages of production and will be released soon. You can help support Sosa’s completion of the album and reserve your copy at his Kickstarter campaign here: http://kck.st/2XPCjiJ. One of the reasons for this Kickstarter campaign is the unanticipated setback of live music bookings, his livelihood, and being placed on hiatus due to mandatory COVID-19 restrictions. As you may be aware, the crisis has been especially hard on gig workers and musicians/entertainers such as Sosa and he needs our help.
Sosa has been working on this project for a significant time prior to the pandemic. He shared about the album, “For the past year I’ve dedicated myself to writing and producing my debut solo project titled ‘Protocol’, a unique and distinctive blend of Jazz, Rock and Blues. ‘Protocol’ is the expression of my art in its rawest form. I’ve always believed great music should transport the listener and this music will take you on a sonic journey you will be sure to enjoy!”
Kickstarter exists to help artists bring their creative projects to life. Sosa is determined to finish and emphasizes the need for support. “With your help, I can finish this collection of original music that means so much to me! Your pledge will go to reserving your physical copies of the album, financing the remaining recording sessions (these guys deserve it for their tremendous work), acquiring the distribution rights for the only cover-song on the album (a wild version of Paul Desmond’s ‘Take Five’) as well as funding the production/mastering and manufacturing of CDs. It will also assist in promotion and getting the music heard on digital playlists, streaming services and radio!” Sosa has financed a majority of the production and sessions himself. “This project is about 95% wrapped, however, this Kickstarter campaign is crucial to its completion. I am excited and proud of how this album is turning out and I cannot wait to share it with you!”
Prior to the Corona virus, he was regularly booked at numerous live venues throughout the Coachella Valley and played with a variety of talented musicians, including one of his favorite groups, Slim Man. The band recently released a double live album that Sosa co-produced. The studio musicians on ‘Protocol’ are some of the same professionals. Sosa is proud of the collaboration with his peers and his new digs. He shared, “I wanted to capture the energy and talent of these musicians and our chemistry together as live performers. Living in the California desert has been inspiring, there is a sort ineffable, mystical quality about the desert and the vastness of the land and sky that I feel has entered my musical soul.”
Here’s a bit from Sosa about the talented musicians who helped make this record happen:
Sosa on Chase Huna (sax):
“I was lucky to have the young phenom Chase Huna on sax. Chase plays and records as a solo artist and with major musicians throughout California. He is also my bandmate from the Slim Man group. So smooth!”
Sosa on Craig Davis Chesnut (co-producer/percussion)
“Craig Davis Chesnut was co-producer and recorded the percussion for the entire album. To say Craig was indispensable would be an understatement! He plays with fantastic feel and passion.”
Sosa on David ‘Compa’ Morales:
“David ‘Compa‘ Morales lays down some heavy bass on our version of ‘Take Five’ taking a classic standard to a Hip-Hop vibe that is fresh. The album version really gets wild.”
Sosa on Alfonso Olachea (co-writer/keyboards):
“Alfonoso Olachea co-wrote and recorded keys. He’s the only other writer on the album contributing one of my favorite songs, ‘Tropic of Cancer’. Such a cool piece! Alfonso’s keys are across the entire recording. Alfonso is also a founding member of the outstanding Jazz group Black Market Jazz with bassist James Gastelum.”
Sosa on Sam Campbell (drums):
“Sam Campbell recorded the smooth, funky pop drums on the grooving track ‘Elvie Baby’. Sam is a studio and touring drummer and musical director in Los Angeles.”
Sosa on Matt Ingelson (trumpet):
“Matt Ingelson laid down one of the coolest things on the album; the Big Band section on the track ‘The Walk’. I mapped out a whole Swing band part and Matt and Chase executed it so well. 12 horn/sax tracks in total! It is a must hear. Matt also recently completed his Master’s program at Berklee College of Music.”
Sosa on James Gastelum (bass):
“James Gastelum played standup bass on the title track, a melodic Jazz ballad. James is an absolute artist of a musician. I couldn’t think of a better fit to breathe the emotion of the standup bass into this track. James also jams the upright in Black Market Jazz. His original band Ocho Ojos recently played the 2019 Coachella Music & Arts Festival.”
Sosa on Johnny Meza (piano):
“Johnny Meza played a beautiful piano arrangement and solo on the title track ‘Protocol’ reminiscent of the classic age Jazz style and brought the hipness to the ‘Protocol’ B-Side remix with the Fender Rhodes piano, an awesome, late night club groove alternate version, one of my favorites on the record. Johnny is a veteran musician and one of the heaviest cats in the valley.”
Sosa on Will Caviness (trumpet):
“Will Caviness laid down gorgeous muted horns on ‘Protocol’ and ‘Protocol’ B-side, breathing life into the track. Will and I gig together frequently and he’s a fantastic player. He recently came to California from the Jazz clubs of New York City.”
Sosa on Sean Poe (drums):
“Sean Poe, ‘the percussionist of many faces,’ played the refined Jazz brush drums on ‘Protocol’ and it really makes the song flow. Sean is a pro, playing in several successful bands throughout the valley including several we collaborate in often. He can adapt and switch into so many styles, all with expertise. Players like him are hard to find!”
Sosa on ‘Protocol’:
Sosa, “This album takes my influences and expresses them as my own signature sound. ‘Protocol’ is mysterious and dark, funky and even psychedelic, but also lends itself to beauty, catharsis and relaxation. I tried to capture my guitar playing in its most organic and emotional form. On this album I am expressing what I love about the guitar and music. I am venturing to take you along with me in my musical thoughts and I’m pushing the boundaries of my songwriting and technical skill like never before. I’ve worked harder on this album than any project I’ve ever undertaken and I am excited to share it with the world. If we don’t make our goal, the funds are returned and we don’t move forward…with that being said I so appreciate your help in making this project happen!”
Please consider contributing to the completion of ‘Protocol’ here:
A two-ton rock band from Coachella, California, Face Facts initially bombarded me with guitar, bass, drums and nearly indecipherable lyrics. I loved it! Their Face Facts Demo 20’ EP includes the songs ‘No Control’, ‘Waiting Room’ and ‘Felt Before’. It has that Pantera meets Sepultura in the pit vibe. Sage Jackson (vocals), Andy Rivera (guitar), Sergio Rivera (bass) and Pichu Baltierra (drums) have a great deal to boast about.
The first song I heard from the band was ‘Five’ released in November 2019. The first thing that captured me was that guitar tone…clean and precise. Second were the death vocals. Third was the rigorous synching of drums and bass. There are so many tempo changes and breakdowns in ‘Five’ that lend themselves to a mosh pit and live performance. The lay-music fan may not be able to easily translate the lyrics at first listen but it’s more about the aggression and ‘disposition’ of the vocals in conjunction with the instrumentation to release that pent up anger built up from a week of Armageddon.
Here are the lyrics to ‘Five’ to help you amateurs:
The awful guidance
Brought by your hand
Has lead another person
You take and you take
But never give a shit
Step on others just to
Lie to yourself
Dismiss what you’ve done
Beg for my help
Always been this fucking way
Stuck in your ways so people view the same
Deceitful motherfucker with greed in your veins
Take what you want no matter what the cost
Don’t ever wonder about the friends you’ve lost
Build your life around disease and disguise
Reveal the face
Your mask can’t hide
Such a pathetic
Waste of time
Always keep your life
On stand by
A man too caught up in himself
To care about anyone
Or anything else
A man full of excuse
That’ll always turn to abuse
A man that will ache through his life
Forever changed to his vice
How could you ever
Spend twenty bucks
On a feeling that love couldn’t fix
It won’t ever
Won’t ever fix
You, you son of a bitch
That tops off the plate
That’ll always remind me what I can’t save
You fucking son of a bitch
Through the mud see less
Find Face Facts music here:
GISELLE WOO AND THE NIGHT OWLS
Giselle Woo and The Night Owls’ newest single, ‘¿Qué Harás?’ featuring Verzo Loko was recorded and engineered at DRP Studios by the Mikey Reyes and mixed and mastered at The Sound Hub by Frank Michel.
From the opening you’ll be on the dance floor. Woo’s layered vocals are more spellbinding than I’ve ever heard her. ‘¿Qué Harás?’ translates to “what will you do?” My guess is most will answer, “¡Vamos a bailar!” “Let’s dance.” The lyrical flow of Verzo LoKo infiltrates easily and without disturbing the structure of the song. The recording is mixed skillfully thanks to The Sound Hub in Cathedral City, California, Woo’s hometown. The Cumbia backbeat and melody is well personified by the Night Owls.
The song is now available on Bandcamp and the band will donate a portion of the profits to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).“The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union — beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees” (www.aclu.org). Their support of the ACLU shows the mindfulness that with artistry comes responsibility.
Woo has never recoiled in her love for music. This song and its sound are a culmination of her years of tough grind and progression. She shared, “This song has been on quite a journey, and we are more than happy to finally be setting her free into the world. She’s out to capture your heart.” Woo is also honest about the difficult undertaking of being an artist during the pandemic. She opened up, “History has been unfolding itself right before our very eyes. In the beginning it was a lot to take in, but staying focused on making the best decisions for our band, for ourselves and for our families and loved ones in these unprecedented times has helped us stay grounded. We have been listening as well as learning how to be better allies and how to stay true in our advocacy for a more just world for all. A heartfelt shout-out to everyone getting into that.” Woo and band model the stoic behavior for all struggling artists.
Through it all, Woo has plugged in herself and the band to where they can make the most impact…the music. She concludes, “It’s easy to get lost in the madness, easy to forget who you are and where you were going. I think it’s safe to say, we’ve all been shook to our core and we’re having to re-learn how to live our lives. I’m trying to take all of this as a blessing in disguise. We will persevere and we will become stronger and faithful to our purpose in life. Music, my sweet girl, I’ve been in limbo with you, but you have never left my side, thank you for saving me, time and time again. Thanks for your time fam. We hope you like this beautiful love song and we hope it brings peace, love and joy into your hearts.”
Purchase the song below: