Sage Gentlewing Wins New Mexico Music Awards “James Dean’s Crash Site“


Sage Gentlewing at Studio Q 1209 New York Avenue Alamogordo

Sage Gentlewing was nominated as a FINALIST for BEST SONG in the “Americana “ category in this year’s New Mexico MUSIC AWARDS ! His Song “ James Dean’s Crash Site” won the nomination! 

Many locals became familiar with Sage Gentlewing, as he has performed in Alamogordo often at the Roadrunner Emporium and at 1209 New  York at Studio Q over the last 2 years, and in Noisy River Winery Ruidoso and Cloudcroft Brewery in Cloudcroft. 

Sage Gentlewing at Roadrunner Emporium
Sage in the groove
Chilling with friends Johnny Vasquez , Toni and Sage Gentlewing, Rene Sepulveda

Mr. Gentlewing has toured the nation. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the ’50s and musically coming of age in the Psychedelic ’60s, Sage was exposed to every type of music from Blues, to Jazz, Country to Folk, Rock to Classical, acoustic to electric, Bluegrass to Celtic, Soul, Funk, R&B to everything in between and beyond.

Most folks know him as a guitarist - and technically “Lap Steel“ guitar is his first instrument to be trained on. 

He studied and played that instrument for two years in the late ’50s as a boy, but in 1964 he switched to DRUMS, learning the instrument quickly as a “natural” drummer, but also with weekly lessons for two years.

While still studying drums, but not yet performing on them, he joined his very first band “Just Us” while still in 8th grade as the Lead Singer in the style of Mick Jagger- playing blues harp, tambourine, and Maracas and dancing around the stage like a wild man.

They played their very 1st gig for their Jr. High graduation to 300 screaming pre-pubescent girls in 1965, playing songs by the Stones, Beatles, Animals, and The Byrds.

In his Freshman year in high school, that same band would play its LAST gig together in front of 2,000 screaming teenagers at Holy Cross High School in Mt View for a Radio KYA extravaganza still in 1965 that included a dozen local bands on the bill.

“Just Us” shared the stage for a band that followed them that was the nucleus for the Santana Blues Band with Mike Shrieve on drums- who would go on to play WOODSTOCK with “Santana”.

A chance meeting with Skip Spence (Moby Grape) when he was still the drummer for Jefferson Airplane at a pool party at the Cabana Hyatt in Palo Alto, Ca where the Airplane was playing a fashion show with their first singer Signe Anderson, led to an audition for The Lighthouse at the Avalon Ballroom in S.F. later that year in 1966.

It turned out to be a pivotal gig in that the “audition” turned into an unofficial 1st set when the 1st band “ Big Brother and the Holding Co, featuring a then still largely unknown singer by the name of Janis Joplin, was running late.

The evening’s full bill was actually Big Brother, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Moby Grape, and an unannounced last set by BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD in their first SF appearance with a then 19-year-old Neil Young and 20 something Stephen Stills!

That gig set the stage for what would become a lifelong career in music and a love affair with the stage that has continued to this day.

In 1973 he briefly joined Michael’s legendary band “Nightwings” as their lead guitarist for a sold-out show at the 300 seat Cubberly Theatre performing three of his own compositions in that show.

The ensuing years saw Sage performing in well over 40 working bands as a sideman, and releasing 13 albums of all original material under his own name.

He has worked paid gigs in every type of situation, from 4 different 22 piece big bands, to Be-Bop and swing combos, Urban Blues bands, Country and Bluegrass and Folk, to Psychedelic Rock, to the classical chamber, to a touring Circus band 7 days a week ( Circus Vargas 1980-81!) to a 7 piece internationally touring DISCO band, ( Japan: Asian tour, based in Hawaii playing 6 nights a week as house band at the 29 story “Princess Kaiulani Hotel in Waikiki} to Soul and R&B to just about any other combination of music.

Along the way, he has shared band duties, and/or recorded with, and/or played stages big and small with a bevy of A list musicians such as Tom Politzer (Tower of Power), Skinny Bishop (Tommy James and the Shondells, Delaney Bramlett), Tuck Andress (Tuck and Patti), Barbara Long (Hiroshima,Phase 2 } Merel Bregante { Loggins and Messina, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Duke Dewey (Country Joe and the Fish, Bodacious, Eggs over Easy, Mad River) Nick Dewey { wrote ‘Runaway” for Jefferson Starship, their 1st top 1op 10 hit} Ritchie Cole, Carmel Jones (Horace Silver), Art Jackson (Count Basie Orch) Big L Barker (Charlie Parker) Kent Bryson (Leon Redbone, Nightwings),Alex Baum { Dan Hicks and his Acoustic Warriors}, Ed Burke (Ike and Tina Turner Revue), Jimmy Paxon (Stevie Nicks, Robben Ford, Dixie Chicks) Al Ortiz (Stevie Nicks) Hubert Tubbs (Tower of Power), Tim Sheridan (Eddie Money), Sandy McKee (Cold Blood) Steve Elliott (Ray Charles ) Chris Herold (Kingfish) Harold Atterbury (Albert King) Conrad Johnson ( B.B.King), Pete Wasner { Vince Gill, Albert Lee, Danny Gatton , etc}, Dave Perlman, Mark Epstein, Doug Burns,and too many others to mention here.

As a solo Singer-Songwriter he has opened for and sung with onstage- Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Shooter Jennings, Quiet Riot, Patrice Pike, John Lee Hooker, Jason Mraz , The Black Moods, to name a few, done a cameo with Calico the Band with Manda Mosher, and has had his solo gigs patronized several times by Neil Young who lived 6 miles away from him between ‘69 and ‘77 when Sage lived on Skyline near Skylonda and in La Honda, Calif, who once gave him an “unofficial” quote/compliment shaking his hand and saying “Hey man, you sound GREAT“! He would know.

It is worth noting that on the 5 or 6 different gigs where Neil showed up- he didn’t just pop in and then leave.

In every instance, Sage was able to hold Neil's attention for upwards of two HOURS at a time.

Sage’s talents grew along decades with adorning fans over  to include his eventual wife Toni Gentlewing.

Sage and Toni chilling with us on New York Avenue

The most recent newly released EP is off to a great start of critical acclaim. As the winner for BEST SONG in the “Americana “ category in this year’s New Mexico MUSIC AWARDS , his song “ James Dean’s Crash Site” is a true work of art. The song appears on the new 6 song EP “Eyes In The Back Of My Head” available for streaming now on most digital platforms such as Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, Apple , Deezer etc.

We have hosted Sage Gentlewing the past two years for multiple shows with his lovely wife. We’ve shared the journey of this wonderful music production that’s been close to two years in the making; with mixing, remixing, studio recording and eventual release. We can thank Sage and Toni for the addition of two members of our home with the adoption of Tina and Aretha from their hobby of saving kitties. 

The winners of the New Mexico music awards  were announced at a gala event held in Albuquerque , NM. Sage and his wife Toni attended that event along with many other finalists in 40 different categories. We congratulate Sage on this well deserved recognition and success and of course keep your eyes on our pages as you will be able to see him live at our Studio Q location this summer for a very special performance. 

Congratulations Sage and Toni! Check out the award winning song below…

Newest release with award winning music by Sage Gentlewing
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