Chihuahua Desert plays “Borderline Fiesta Music” from North and South of the border. Most songs are sung in English; however, Mark Cash sings in fluent Spanish. It is with surprise, nods of pleasure and pride, that the Mexicans hear Cash singing their songs with such feeling and perfection.
Chihuahua Desert plays a series of beautiful interpretations of classic Mexican musical artists, including Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Agustin Lara, including some peppy, zippy Rancheras that get people tapping their toes.
The music of Neil Young’s Unknown Legend and Bob Dylan’s Things have Changed are songs played by the band. Cash, Steve Rodgers and Bobby SlideL joined in the collective process of composing their light jazz instrumental Fishing on the Clackamas. The song brings the image of a serene morning at the river, casting one’s fishing line out over the water. Bagdad Sunrise tells the story of a U.S. soldier serving in the Middle East, reworded by Cash.
Cat Stevens’ music greatly influenced Cash. Even The Lawrence Welk Show is fondly remembered by Cash because he watched it with his family after bath time as a child. The early version of Chihuahua Desert was named with his family after bath time as a child. The early version of Chihuahua Desert was named tongue-in-cheek The Lawrence Welk Show. Cash believes music is a good healthy experience; it’s challenging and competitive. He thinks Portland has a hot music scene. Cash agrees music is the universal language; it speaks to the heart and soul.
The band is all acoustic; no electric guitars. They play a lot of rock and country and some folk music like Breakfast in Hell, Drill Ye Terriers Drill and City of New Orleans. They also play classics from Harry Belafonte, Elvis Presley, Freddy Fender and Johnny Cash, to name a few. Cash is an animated performer and the audiences reciprocate in kind by their smiles of appreciation and dancing.
Rodgers owns a Martin acoustic bass guitar. This guitar survived a home fire and Rodgers purchased it. He gives Chihuahua Desert a unique sound; a simplicity that opens up space for other instruments or vocals. He has been with the band for six years. A mutual friend is well-acquainted with Portland’s music scene and brought the individual musicians together. Rodgers was born in Sioux City, Iowa, came from a military family and is well-traveled. He handles Chihuahua Desert’s web presence on MySpace.com, Facebook and Reverbnation.com
Rodgers states that the band road trips in the summer to Nevada and California as a major perk. Traveling has been a real adventure; the band has opened doors to opportunity and adversity. “However, it’s all good, all is a learning experience. I love the road trips and the camping opportunities,” Rodgers quotes. Just a few places of interest include: Lakeview, Lake Tahoe and Paisley’s Mosquito Festival. Rodgers expression about road trips is: “It’s life that keeps you on your toes; let’s take it warts and all. Cash arranges all the summer road trips and It’s quite the adventure to find out where we will be going; excitement rises up at the expectations of meeting new people and experiencing the excitement of the unknown aspects of the trip. There’s a combination of camping experiences and staying in really nice, clean casino rooms where Chihuahua Desert plays.”
SlideL sings rich lead vocals and also backup harmonies. He is known for his pristine slide guitar playing, Dobro style. He came to Oregon from the Bay area in 1970. He’s played and sung since he was 14. He once opened for Carlos Santana at the College of San Mateo, San Francisco. SlideL enjoys the Portland music scene very much. He enjoys the variety of music; he’s played with the Felizades Band and the Sky River Band, Foothill Diesel Band, and Brydge here in Portland. He plays classic rock, blues and country rock. Bobby “The Stubborn Swede” SlideL has said during shows,“You can tell a Swede, but you can’t tell him much!”
Jon Johnson, Bobby SlideL’s son, is Chihuahua Desert’s new percussionist. SlideL acknowledges he likes performing with his son. Johnson is a hard-hitting, in-the-pocket drummer who brings another level of power to Chihuahua Desert’s performances.
Cash closes the music event with: “We’ll see you down the Chihuahua Desert’s trail.” (See Bandstand for performance schedule.)