Editor’s Note: The Vail Daily features local musicians in a new series called “Meet Your Musician” so you can learn a little more about the voices behind the tunes. If you are a local musician and would like to be part of this series, please email Tricia Swenson (email@example.com) and Sean Naylor (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q: What is your stage/group name?
A: After 25 years of performing as Cristian Basso, while writing and performing with various bands, my current stage name is Babaux. When we play with the full band, our name is Babaux and the Peacemakers.
Q: How would you describe your style of music?
A: Babaux and the Peacemakers is a roots-rock musical project. The project was inspired by my childhood exposure to Piedmontese blues artists like John Jackson. My mom was a music promoter and booked gigs in Virginia, where I grew up. As a result, I was exposed to this unique style of blues music and recently revisited this musical style while learning to play dobro slide guitar. I thought having the dobro up front in the instrumentation would give the music a unique sound.
Q: What instrument(s) do you play with your band members?
A: In this project, I play dobro slide guitar and sing. The Peacemakers are Alana Velvis on drums and percussion, Eric Martinez on electric and acoustic guitar and Niek Velvis on electric bass. We have members of the extended musical family who will also be performing live with us, including James Dumm on guitar as well as Justin Ernest on guitar.
Q: How long have you been playing in the Valley?
A: I have been performing in the Valley for over 25 years. I originally played with Little Hercules and later formed a nationally recognized studio project called Royal Peeps. Groups The Sessh and Renegade Sons followed and now Babaux and the Peacemakers. I had the opportunity to play with Bo Diddley and G Love and to tour with Leo Nocentelli of The Meters as well as Papa Mali, Eric Lindell and Particle.
Q: Where have you played in the Valley?
A: Over the years I’ve played in almost every concert hall in the area. Nothing really compares to the days of State Bridge and Garton’s in the late 90’s. These places were one of a kind at the time and are some of my favorites. Currently we don’t have as many live music venues as we used to, but places like Moe’s BBQ, 7 Hermits Brewing, The Amp and Shakedown Bar continue to provide original live music.
Q: What is your dream location (in the valley or elsewhere)?
A: I should say Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO as well as the New Orleans Jazz Fest in Louisiana. Both places have such a strong musical spirit and continue to inspire musicians from all over the world.
Q: What other styles of music do you (and your band members) listen to?
A: Personally, I listen to a lot of funk and rock music. I love New Orleans music, Delta blues and anything that stirs the soul. I really appreciate the imperfections in the music, it’s true and it’s honest. Lately I’ve been listening to Chris Stapleton, the Black Keys and Leo Nocentelli’s lost acoustic record, “Another Side”. I listen to just about anything once to find out if there’s anything I can learn from it, whether it’s from a performance or songwriting perspective.
Q: How does the Vail Valley music scene compare to other places you’ve played?
A: I prefer to call it a musical “community” rather than a stage. The music community is lively and active as usual and seems to be focused on cover bands rather than bands writing their own music. This may be because many afternoon performers make their living performing for tourists. I don’t blame them, the money is good.
I have a deeper appreciation for writing my own songs and compositions and working them live, even if those songs are unfamiliar to the audience. That’s really what Babaux and the Peacemakers is about. Let’s celebrate and respect musicians who have already impacted and inspired, but also write our own material and continue to be inspired to do so. This is one of the reasons I respect the New Orleans music community as much as I do because they are such a strong force in the music industry.
Q: What can the public expect from one of your performances?
A: Our first performance of Babaux and the Peacemakers will be at Showdown Town in Eagle Town Park on Thursday from 6:30-8:30pm and it’s free! We are going to share our new recording called “Lucky 13”. It’s called “Lucky 13” since it’s officially my 13th record release party. It’s a roots rock record that packs a punch while containing haunting musical vibes.
Q: Where can readers see a list of your upcoming shows?
A: Interested parties can always check the Contra Basso Music Facebook page for more information on our upcoming shows:
In addition to the Showdown Town Concert, we’ll be playing The Goat in Keystone on Fridays at 9 p.m. and 7 Hermits Brewing Co. in Eagle on Saturdays from 7-9 p.m.
The new version of Babaux and the Peacemakers “Lucky 13” is now available for download on Apple iTunes.
“Lucky 13” version CDs and USBs are currently available at all live shows for $20. Alternatively, you can order via Venmo: @Cristian-Basso and we’ll mail you a copy.
The vinyl release will take place in September 2022, and pre-order reservations are available for $30 and can be purchased through the Venmo address above.