New York-based singer-songwriter Alfonso Velez was born in Mexico City and was raised in Moscow and in Buenos Aires. But musically, he was reared on the folk rock traditions of Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. Perhaps even literally, in the case of Simon -- in this 2008 Soundcheck interview, Velez says the first concert he ever attended was Simon & Garfunkel’s Central Park concert … while he was in the womb.
Velez’s style does indeed strongly recall both these North American folk icons but his gentle lilts, guitar-driven tunes, and penchant for socially-conscious lyricism also bear traces of Latin American trova and folk greats Silvio Rodriguez and Fernando Delgadillo in its DNA. (Velez cites the latter as an influence in the Soundcheck piece as well.)
Download his graceful track "Yer Blue Hair” above and watch the poignant video for his immigrant ballad “Plymouth Barracuda” below. Alfonso Velez plays at Mercury Lounge on Tuesday night.