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‘Song to a river’: Single inspired by the Gila benefits NM Wilderness Alliance

David Climaco Garcia released the single “Down by Her Riverside Home” on May 6. His album will be released on June 25. (Courtesy of Nikelle Garcia)

David Climaco Garcia took time during the pandemic to get back to the basics of writing music.

He worked so much on it that he ended up with enough material for a new album, “Between the Devil and Me,” which will be released June 25.

“(The album) is about taking stock of who you are,” Garcia says. “All of it was written during the pandemic, and it was important for me to capture it.”

Garcia’s first single from the album is “Down by Her Riverside Home.” It was released on May 6.

“It’s a song about a mother who has lost her child,” he says. “It’s in the vein of ‘La Llorona’ story. She just wanders around by the water there. All my songs are cinematic. It’s a little spooky, and I think there’s a whole thing about the rivers of the Southwest that are these thin ribbons of life in big deserts. They collect energy.”

Garcia says the proceeds from the single will be donated to support the wilderness advocacy group New Mexico Wilderness Alliance.

Cover of “Down by Her Riverside Home.”

“The single was pre-released on Bandcamp, and we’ve raised a good amount of money for them,” he says. “The money is specifically earmarked to get the upper Gila River designated as ‘wild and scenic.’ There are recurring threats to the river and you don’t see wild rivers very often. It might be the only one in New Mexico. It’s a song to the river, and it’s beautiful and amazing.”

Garcia has been writing songs for 31 years, after getting his first guitar at age 15.

The writing process for this album was another great experience in his career.

“I was in the mode of studying pop form songs and American song form standards,” he says. “The songs on the albums are imprints on different pop songs forms. They freed me up, and they populated from my subconscious. It was really a remarkable time.”

Garcia emerges from a midcentury highway culture that still dominates the American imagination.

The Albuquerque-based songwriter draws from New Mexico’s Southwestern Americana, a blend of classic cowboy and country sensibilities mixed with his own Spanish and Native American lineage.

He has assisted sessions with Neil Young, The Donnas, and Portishead’s Geoff Barrow at the studio Bill Putnam built for John Coltrane in the 1960s.

While an editor and New Mexico post supervisor on the Academy Award-nominated film “Hell or High Water,” he jammed with Jeff Bridges.

“The songs run the gamut,” he says. “All of the stories that are in my mind come from the events in my life. It’s been an incredible journey to share them with the world.”

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