Eric Larson Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

Phil Appelbaum, Michael Herndon and the band Nosotros

This year the New Mexico Music Awards honored two of New Mexico’s fallen heroes and one iconic band.

When you consider the list of people Phil Applebaum worked with, it reads like a history of New Mexico music, from Carl Silva, The Muttz, Alma, Chuck Coulter, Strictly Taboo, The Strawberry Zotz, The Philisteens, Femme fatale, Cadillac Bob & the Rhinestones, Chris Dracup, Wendy Beach, Bert Dalton….the list is endless.

He had world class chops, but preferred to practice his art in New Mexico after moving from Chicago via LA in 1974. He worked with national and international artists including Spencer Davis, Harriet Schock, Chris Calloway, Doug Lawrence and many more. He did work for NASCAR and NBC television. You could find him in the company of people like the Rolling Stones or Todd Rundgren.

Phil won no fewer than 37 MIC Awards, the progenitor of the NM Music Awards, including Album of the year in 1992 and 1994 for Strictly Taboo’s Playing with Fire and their follow up, Speak No Evil, also taking home the best producer award in 1992.

Phil was meticulous, at one time re-setting all the clocks in his house and studio before his morning coffee. We will always remember him drink in hand, never drunk, but nursing that same drink all evening long.

Phil in his element.

Michael Herndon was the voice in the Duke City and much of New Mexico. Michael was constantly in demand for recording sessions, live gigs and benefits.

His command of his instrument was inspiring, so much so that other vocalists stood in line for a chance to perform with him. He worked with everyone and in many genres, but was at his best with jazz and rhythm and blues. We remember him giving his all in every performance, thrilling audience and bandmembers alike. There will never be another one like him.

Michael Herndon in performance

This group of gentlemen began their journey in las cruces as a guitar trio. What they quickly learned was that people really like to dance. Over time they added another new member, then another and then another until they had the right formula for making music the way they wanted to. Now, nearly thirty years later, they are one of the most sought after bands in the southwest. Nosotros is truly a New Mexico original.

They are Glenn Contreras and Carlos Fontana- Vocals, Shane Derk – Guitar, Randy Sanchez – Tres, Guitar, Gilbert Uribe – Bass, Dennis Javier Jasso – Drums, Manu Ramirez – Saxophones, Ricky Carrido – Congas and Jesse Joaquin Parker – Vibraphone, Percussion.

The awards are given in honor of New Mexico Music Awards co-founder Eric Larson who passed away in 2005. The Eric Larson Endowment presents annual scholarships to UNM students studying music.