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Martinsburg musician recognized by Rolling Stone

Photo submitted to The Journal  Rolling Stone Magazine named Christian Lopez the Best Newcomer at the Americana Music Festival 2015 in Nashville, Tenn.
Photo submitted to The Journal
Rolling Stone Magazine named Christian Lopez the Best Newcomer at the Americana Music Festival 2015 in Nashville, Tenn.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Following in the footsteps of Brad Paisley and Kathy Mattea, the next rising musical star to shoot out of West Virginia might be Christian Lopez.

Rolling Stone Magazine named Lopez the Best Newcomer at the Americana Music Festival 2015 in Nashville, Tenn.

The Americana Music Festival 2015 was a four-night event that took place from Sept. 16-19 in multiple venues within the downtown area of Nashville. This year, they had over 165 artists and band perform.

“We were playing and there just happened to be a Rolling Stone writer in the audience, and they just happened to love our show,” said Lopez during a telephone interview. “It was a really nice surprise for us.”

Doing what all smart musicians do, Lopez is known for sticking close to his Appalachian roots. His music can be best described as a mix of folk and rock, he said, but listeners can also pick up notes of bluegrass with a little bit of gospel sprinkled here and there.

“We try to make it honest,” he said, “connecting with the listener. And we leave nothing but blood and sweat on the stage.”

The Christian Lopez band consists of Christian on guitar and lead vocals, Chelsea McBee on the banjo, Pete Teselsky on the drums and Mark Shottinger on the bass.

“The Rolling Stone article was so huge for us. We’ve been working so hard, that was a little bit of a pay-off for us. It’s a huge thing for musicians.”

What’s up next for Christian Lopez? Touring, touring and more touring. Lopez said they just returned from a tour on the West Coast, and their next show will be back in Nashville on October 5. After that, they will traverse the eastern part of the United States with gigs in West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York; and that’s all in the month of October.

“On October 29 we will be back in Shepherdstown for our Hometown Halloween show at the Opera House,” said Lopez, “then it’s back to touring again.”

As if anyone with that kind of schedule, plus writing lyrics and music, plus dealing with the day-to-day chores of life, would have any time for anything else; Lopez said that in his off-time he enjoys working on the restoration of his vintage 1972 Harvester Scout and spending time with his two pugs – Pumpkin and Elvis.

When many musicians reach a certain point in their careers, they often move away – usually leaving their childhood homes for Nashville, New York or Los Angeles, but Lopez said that’s not in his immediate plans.

“Martinsburg is my home and it will always be home base. We’re on the road like crazy, but it’ll always be home.”

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