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Creative Corner: A supportive community and young love inspired this Longmont artist to grow 'Roots and Wings'

Antonio Lopez was welcomed by the community his first day in town.
Antonio Lopez plays at Longmont's ArtWalk.

Antonio Lopez and his wife, Georgia, never dreamed when they picked Longmont  as their new home that they also would find a community of musicians who immediately welcomed them in, launching them further into success.

When choosing a new place to live, the couple stumbled on Longmont because it was between his hometown of Alamosa and her home in the Black Hills of South Dakota. They'd both lived in rural areas and weren't quite ready for the hustle-bustle of Denver. Longmont gave them a good middle-ground, both in terms of energy and location. They came here nearly a decade ago and found a thriving arts community with a unique vibe.

"​​I find it's really supportive. It's not as competitive as some other places would be. And it's like we're doing things in our own way here," Lopez said, "We've always known what we've had here, but I feel like that's becoming more apparent to the outer world."

Lopez found that support on the very first day he moved here when he attended Rocky Mountain Song School, which takes place the week before Rocky Mountain Folks Festival.

"Even now a lot of my community stems from the Rocky Mountain Song School up in Lyons. The first year here, on the day we moved to Longmont, was the first day of song school. I was just thinking that it would be a good way to meet other musicians and get integrated into the scene," Lopez said. “I honestly couldn't tell you what my first gig was out of that but it stemmed from the community there."

Gigs were not the only thing to grow from the Rocky Mountain Song School community. Just prior to the pandemic, Lopez released his most recent album, Roots and Wings and once again found the support he needed to get through and celebrate the experience.

"I'm really fortunate that for Roots and Wings, our newest album, we had a very successful Kickstarter that raised nearly $25,000 with almost 300 people. Luckily, the album was done recording before the pandemic and we released it during the pandemic. People are really digging it," he said.

The inspiration for the album came from a store in the small town of Duncan in British Columbia, where Antonio and Georgia honeymooned in 2018. Perusing the shelves of a store there, they came across a newspaper with an article about what parenting success means.

"The article was talking about these two things that a parent could give their children — roots and wings. The roots to know where you come from and the wings to be able to pursue what you want to pursue and to achieve in this life," Lopez said. 

Lopez said musicians also can give themselves roots and wings as musicianship and creativity fluctuate and flow in the same way seasons do.

"I like to think of a career in the arts as having seasons and cycles to it. Right now, we're in fall and the weather is really changing around us …  and there's just different seasons in your creative career,” Lopez said. "It's really easy to see what someone else is doing and start comparing yourself to them, perhaps getting insecure or thinking ‘wow I really want that’ and maybe get envious. But, as an artist you should realize you might be in a different season than they are and you just need to trust that process."

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