Carlsbad New Mexico Band 'Stranded' Looks To Raise Awareness Of Oilfield Traffic
August 2, 2018
Raul Ortega sees the danger on U.S. Highway 285 every day.
The 52-year-old pipeline operator drives to and from work on the highway known for heavy oilfield traffic, and recently a string of fatal accidents.
Ortega also started playing drums for Carlsbad rock band Stranded about a year ago, and saw a chance to raise awareness of the peril he and his fellow oilfield workers and Carlsbad residents face every day on that road.
More: After crashes on U.S. 285, New Mexico residents at odds with officials over road repairs
The band is celebrating the release of its album “285” in hopes of musically raising awareness of the perilous roadway.
Stranded is performing at the CD release party, 8 p.m., Saturday at Cal’s Shade Western on South Canal Street.
“The two founding members wrote it as a party song. Then there were all the accidents on the highway, so I asked if we could rewrite it,” Ortega said. “It’s more about what’s going on.”
Ortega said the song tells the story of a worker leaving for the day, kissing his wife and children goodbye and wondering he’ll make it home.
“You get up in the morning, you say goodbye and go off to work,” he said. “You get in your vehicle and you want to see those smiling faces again when you get home.
“We take this life for granted. A lot of people have no idea what’s going to happen with these accidents. You don’t know if you’ll make it home.”
Stranded performed for years around Carlsbad before, but stalled recently.
It was last year that Ortega joined on drums and formed a song-writing duo with founding member and rhythm guitar player Mike Ybarra.
“He can sit there and play a lick, and we just start piecing things together,” Ortega said. “We make a good team.”
They soon recorded their EP in April, and made it to Spotify, Youtube and several other streaming services.
New Mexico-focused music website ListenNM named Stranded as a featured artist for the month of August.
The City of Carlsbad even approached the band about using another song “Nothing Lasts Forever” for promotional material.
But despite the success, Ortega said the band is still dedicated to telling the stories of its community, one riff at a time.
“Everything clicked,” Ortega said. “It’s all happening for us. But we’re a local band. Our music is about our hometown. You hear songs on the radio about drinking and smoking, these are more about Carlsbad. People actually know what the words mean.”
Stranded’s main influences include alternative rock acts like the Foo Fighters and Kid Rock.
Fans of all ages have enjoyed the band’s melding of rock music, while maintaining a laid-back style, Ortega said.
“It’s easy-listening rock, but it’s got drive to it,” he said. “It’s not in your face, but it’s got a good feel.”
For Ybarra it’s all about playing music with his best friends, while also uplifting his community through song.
“We’re all best friends. We’re actually brothers,” Ybarra said. “We’re hoping the song 285 brings awareness to what’s going on out there with all the accidents. It’s not about making money.”
Source: Current Argus