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October 2017 - Extras: Stage Stop

The men slowly gathered around the old plastic outdoor tables. At dusk, the lights come on over the rustic red sign of the Stage Stop on Highway 4 in Jemez Springs. The patio is filling with chatter and bystanders. The roosters crow in the background, sometimes with approval and sometimes not. One by one, another case is unloaded and set to the side. Silvery hair blows in the breeze. Water glasses and a pitcher are set out on the table. Papers are rustled, whispers from the other tables become louder as the food begins to arrive. I’m feeling jealous of my friend Posole until my green chile cheeseburger with mushrooms arriving moments later. The rooster and chicken walk around the perimeter of the patio waiting for a guest to break down and share dinner with them.

The leader of the pack slowly begins to strum his acoustic guitar and softly sings Eight Days a Week. The surrounding tables fall silent again in anticipation. One by one the other guitars join in. A harmonica, an acoustics bass, and ukulele. The group of musician grows adding multiple voices and guitars. A woman sits with her bongos. Together they play Beatles classic, old folk music from motherland and instrumentals to make the crowd tap their feet and sing along. On the side of this small highway, people pull over to watch. The goats mill around the base of the tree watching the chickens and roosters watch the show. They eye the crowd hoping for treats or forgotten morsels to be discarded. The music continues growing louder to be heard over the laughter and cheers of the audience. Small children dance in circles and run over to give offerings to the animals. Yes, it’s Friday night in a small mountain town, but the celebration is only just beginning and will only end in time to begin again.

The Stage Stop in Jemez Springs features music most nights of the week. Friday Night, however, is Howie’s Song Circle. You never know who will show up and play, but it will always be a good time. Check out the playbill at

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