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Local flavor: Award-winning Gonzalo is known for his rancheras and corridos

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Native New Mexican musician Gonzalo released a new album, “A Tribute to the Songs of Antonio Aguilar.”

Native New Mexican musician Gonzalo released a new album, “A Tribute to the Songs of Antonio Aguilar.”

Gonzalo has come a long way since performing with Al Hurricane.

“It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come,” he says. “It seems like ages ago that I performed with him. He’s the one who got me the start.”

From being in the background to a player in the spotlight – and a very bright one – he’s picked up numerous awards for his music around New Mexico and has become a coveted regional act.

The native New Mexican is back with a new album, “A Tribute to the Songs of Antonio Aguilar.”

Aguilar was best known for singing traditional Mexican folk songs (rancheras) and ballads (corridos) as well for his participation in rural-themed films, often about the Mexican Revolution.

He also is the father to singers Antonio Jr. and Pepe.

With more than 150 albums in Aguilar’s catalog, Gonzalo had plenty of music to draw from.

“I went with songs that meant something to me,” he says. “It was difficult to put it all together because a lot of the songs are so good.”

Gonzalo recorded the entire album in his home studio, which was convenient.

“It’s nice to have this so accessible to me,” he says. “I could work on music any time that I wanted. It was a different experience for me.”

Gonzalo will be part of the New Year’s festivities at The Downs Racetrack & Casino on Dec. 31.

He will perform during the “Noon Year’s Eve” event at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 31 and then again at 9 p.m. later that day.

“I’m excited to be able to ring in the new year in my home state,” he says. “It’s always nice to have a hometown kind of feel to the crowd.”

Gonzalo also has a residency at The Downs through March.

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