For the last fifteen years singer/songwriter/guitarist, Todd Tijerina (Tee-her-ee-na), has steadily made a living playing his unique blend of blues, funk, roots-rock and jazz. In addtion to frequent tours of the central and southwestern United States with his band, Todd has worked as guitarist for Chicago-based artists such as internationally revered bluesman, Byther Smith, the legendary Harmonica Hinds, and BB's daughter, Shirley King. Currently based in Albuquerque, NM, though originally from Chicago, the band is a former winner of Chicagoland's Rory's Blues Talent Competition (1999). This victory funded recording expenses for the group's 2000 release, The Lowdown. Since then The Todd Tijerina Band has released five more albums: Welcome Home (2004), Now(2006), Walk This Road (2009), Meant To Be (2010) and Shine On (2014) which have enjoyed radio play in the US, Australia and Europe. His song "Nothin' LIke the Blues" won the Blues Song of the Year category in the 2011 New Mexico Music Awards.
Todd has always striven to be musically unique. Rootstime (Belgium) declares that he "creates his own style and sound… His manner of guitar playing, singing and songwriting is refreshing and inspiring." The Promised Land Entertainment Magazine states "[Tijerina's] newest release is a perfect example of how to take the old and mix in the new to get a feeling of something very special." Todd's unique sound is a result of his own take on songwriting with an emphasis on maintaining potent hooks, personal identity and grooves that cross genre lines. This approach helps explain his musical contribution's relevancy to blues as an evolving art form.
The Todd Tijerina Band's unique sound and mastery over its music has enabled bookings at some of the most prestigious venues in the southwest and Chicago.
Southwest notables include:
Telluride Blues & Brews Festival (Telluride, CO) Silver City Blues Festival (Silver City, NM)
Blues Under the Bridge Fest (Colo Springs, CO) Animas River Blues Fest (Aztec, NM)
Beaver Creek June Jam (Beaver Creek, CO) Madrid Blues Festival (Madrid, NM)
Rally in the Rockies (Ignacio, CO) Morro Theater (Gallup, NM)
River Fest (Farmington, NM) Mesa Theater (Grand Junction, CO)
Trinidadio Blues Fest (Trinidad, CO) Tugboat (Steamboat Springs, CO)
The Foundry (Boulder, CO) The Birdcage (Prescott, AZ)
Scoot 'n Blues (Durango, CO) Mountain of Blues Fest (Ruidoso, NM)
Keystone Blues Fest & Art Show (Keystone, CO) Blues & Brews Festival (SLC, UT)
Silverton Jamboree Music Fest (Silverton, CO) South Park Music Tour (Alma, CO)
Fire & Ice Bike Rally (Grants, NM) NM Blues & Brews Fest (Santa Fe, NM)
Albuquerque Blues Festival (Alb., NM) Sherbino Theater (Ridgeway, CO)
Mission Theatre (Grants, NM) The Dead Goat (Salt Lake City, UT)
Charly's (Flagstaff, AZ) Brendan's Pub (Denver)
Railroad Blues (Alpine, TX) Boomers (Grand Junction, CO) and many others…
Chicago notables include:
House of Blues Hotel, Chord on Blues, Slice of Chicago, Rosa's, Harlem Ave Lounge, Beale Street Blues Café, and many others
Todd Tijerina (Tee-her-ee-na) is one of the few individuals possessing the right amounts of talent and determination to make a successful living playing music. And like most career musicians his passion started early. "A friend lent me a bass guitar when I was nine years old and I began teaching myself some simple lines," he recalls. "Shortly thereafter, a teenaged neighbor who knew I wanted to play guitar told me he just happened to have one for sale, a K-Mart electric going for five bucks. Within minutes I was back on his doorstep with a handful of coins and two singles. Man, I was My first guitar!" Todd began teaching himself songs from his favorite albums and quickly realized what he wanted to be when he grew up: a professional musician.
Todd was born and raised in the working class suburbs of Chicago. "My family was poor, so when the rent was raised or money was tighter than usual we would move someplace more affordable. I feel that having lived in so many places as a kid made me aware of differences and helped broaden my perspectives. And I feel this has helped me as a songwriter. Always being the new kid on the block made me feel a real need to prove and express myself to the other kids, so they would know me as someone worth knowing. Music became the perfect avenue."
Although Todd grew up in the blues capital of the world, it wasn't until moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico in his late teens that he was exposed to the art form. "Some friends of mine and my older sister had turned me on to Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Their styles were new and really grabbed me, like nothing I had heard before." Through the music of Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Todd was led to other blues greats like B.B., Albert, and Freddie King, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker and others who would become major influences for him in his playing, singing and song writing. He immersed himself in the guitar, practicing every minute he could. And he began listening to contemporaries such as Smokin' Joe Kubek, Duke Robillard, Tab Benoit, Robben Ford, Luther Alison and others. "I also began really taking notes on the vocal stylings of different artists like Robert Cray and B.B. King. Those are two of my favorite singers." Of his mentors Tijerina says, "Man if I own their album, they're an influence."
Though his music is categorized as blues-rock, you can hear jazz and funk influences in his song writing and playing. One can also detect a bit of southwestern blues flavor, not surprisingly as that is the region where Tijerina has spent most of his musical career touring from New Mexico to Texas, Colorado and Arizona making a living playing his unique brand of high octane and yet lowdown blues. Just as the fertile soil we all walk upon was once something different, a myriad of rocks, plants, ancient animal carcasses and hard mineral deposits, Todd has intertwined his introverted and passionate personality with his influences to create something that is new and potent. "I live to play", says Tijerina of his obsession "I've always loved music, but the blues is my first real and lasting sweetheart."
Regarding Todd's talent, states, "From the first note he strikes on his guitar it's apparent that something great is happening...Tijerina plays with an almost incomprehensible intensity." And the says, "Tijerina creates some of the densest and trance-inducing blues since Vaughan put down his guitar for the last time." The adds that, "Todd Tijerina is more ego-free soulman than six-string showboat. Not that he can't burn a fretboard with the best of 'em--one spin of his new disc,, proves that--but Tijerina and his band lay down a tune and a rock-solid groove well before the solo sparks fly, not the other way around."
Todd's move back to Chicago in 1997 provided him opportunities to work as guitarist for Chicago blues veterans Byther Smith, Harmonica Hinds, Jumpin' Willie Cobb, Kax and the Blacklight Show, BB's daughter, Shirley King, and others. Migrating to Albuquerque in December of 2000, Todd brings his Chicago experiences to the region that has always inspired him and contributes to his original sound.
His soulful style rolls from lyrical and sweet to harsh and howling. His voice, like his guitar, is at times smooth as silk, and at other times hard and demanding, yet always clear and direct. Truly a fiery and captivating performer.