There aren’t many songs that Alberto Madrid can’t play on acoustic guitar.
However, the longtime musician and mariachi manager at Midland is still eager to find out more.
Hailing from Midland, Madrid has been playing guitar for 45 years. He comes from a family of musicians.
Many people have recognized him for his solo gigs at fundraisers and private events as well as in the band. Current New.
“I started when I was 12 and grew up listening to music,” Madrid said. “My parents were both singers. They sang in a mariachi band. My mom (Concepcion Martinez) is from Mexico, so we’ve been going to Mexico since I was little. Most of my uncles are also musicians.
Growing up, there was always music for Madrid.
“My uncles in Mexico, they were always ready to help me learn and practically started on that,” Madrid said. “I finally started playing rock ‘n’ roll. Since then, I have been surrounded by music.
When he’s not teaching or performing with Current Nine, he does solo gigs all over the region.
“I tried to do concerts in restaurants, but people don’t usually go to restaurants to listen to music,” Madrid said. “They are going to look for food. Most of my gigs have been private gigs like at the Aphasia Center.
Earlier this year, he performed for the West Texas Aphasia Center’s Chocolate Decadance fundraiser in January.
“I can tell you our guests loved it,” said Kitty Binek, executive director of the West Texas Aphasia Center. “He was very flexible. He ended up playing even longer than originally planned. He stepped in and didn’t hesitate to play more than we needed. He does a great job and our guests loved listening to him.
Madrid also performs at Midland Country Club on Friday nights.
“It’s been really good and I have an audience there too,” Madrid said. “The whole thing is no matter what, whether you play in a band or you’re a soloist, having an audience is the most important thing to appreciate because people love what you do and that goes beyond the money and everything. Having an audience that appreciates what you do is very fulfilling as a musician.
He will receive many compliments from his audience members at concerts.
“The tip jar is quite hit,” Madrid said with a laugh. “It’s really good to watch an audience and when you play a song, you see who’s perking up. It’s always great. I also sometimes receive requests. Doing it so long, my repertoire is really extensive. I get requests and I’m like ‘wow, I haven’t played it in a while’ so I think about it and it will come back in my memory. The hardest thing to do is to stay fresh. You can’t show up to gigs playing the same music all the time, so being part of the music means the journey never ends. There is always something to learn.
Madrid graduated from Midland High in 1983. He then studied classical guitar at Texas Tech.
“It just opened the door to what I’m doing now,” Madrid said. “I’ve always done my own guitar thing, but when it comes to classical, that’s where I got the knowledge and the inspiration to do what I do. These are all my own song arrangements. This is called the finger style.
Madrid will incorporate classic rock technique into contemporary arrangements.
He’ll take songs like Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” and perform them acoustically.
“I always hear a song and I think ‘that would sound pretty good to learn because Bach is the one who said the guitar was a little orchestra because it’s all there,'” Madrid said. “All the instruments and all the sounds are there. It was very fun and challenging. Playing alone like that without a band and incorporating all these different styles because it’s all styles. It’s rock, blues and everything. Some people may not like one style, but they will probably like the other.
His family was filled with musicians who inspired him, but more specifically, his uncle Raymond Rodriguez helped ignite his passion for the guitar.
“He was the sharkto player in my father’s squad,” Madrid said. “He was really flashy, really quick and that technique really inspired me to become a guitarist.”
Shortly after, his other uncle Ray Madrid gave him a guitar to start learning.
“It really stuck with me,” Alberto said. “It was just a classical guitar. It was a pretty good one but not the best in the world. It was still a good start to learning. I was always drawn to rock and roll. I played with it. a bunch of rock and country and blues bands in the area. I’ve had the pleasure of playing with a lot of different people.”
Madrid makes sure to learn new songs so they don’t have to play the same library of music at every gig.
“The problem is, and this goes for any musician, you learn throughout life,” Madrid said. “The thing about music is that it’s a journey of a lifetime. I am so lucky to be part of this journey.
When asked what was the most difficult piece he had to perform, Madrid replied Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On’.
“That one was quite difficult,” Madrid said. “I’m working on a Bach fugue called Fugue BMV 1000. Also, ‘Freebird’ was also quite difficult. I didn’t know it could be done this way. This surprised a lot of people. »
Madrid has just completed its first year of teaching Mariachi at Goddard Junior High and Bunche Elementary in Midland.
Prior to that, he taught mariachi in Ector County for years, teaching at various locations including UTPB, Odessa Middle School, and Ector Junior High School.
He left to teach at Midland to try to build a mariachi program.
It’s a challenge he’s relished so far.
“I love it,” Madrid said. “We’re building right now and it’s always exciting. We are building from scratch so there are a lot of challenges but the kids really like it. We hope to have more growth and have more children in the program.
Currently, he says he has about 120 students combined from Goddard and Bunche in his mariachi programs.
“What a lot of people forget is that when you’re a mariachi manager, it’s a band, it’s an orchestra and a guitar at the same time,” Madrid said. “But it’s really rewarding and to do it for so long, there’s a system that works. It’s really rewarding work.”
Current Nine is made up of musicians from the region with many experiences, including educators.
Members of this group include Emily Baker, Eric Baker, Dan Ferguson, Jordan Holmes, Tyler Lillestol, Mark Lowe, Jimmy Olague, Ethan Wills, and Madrid.
One piece of advice Madrid has for future guitarists is to be patient and always grow and take lessons from people they can benefit from.
“Do everything you can to improve your technique and also play what makes you happy,” Madrid said. “Play what you love and pursue it. Pick it up every day because the hardest part is getting it out of the case.