Carlsbad band Stranded a finalist for New Mexico Music Awards

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Guitarist Mike Ybarra thinks about his niece Brianna who died at 21 from cancer when Ybarra’s band Stranded plays their latest song “Angel’s Bridge.”

Drummer Raul Ortega thinks of a friend who died from suicide and singer Jason Vigil thinks about his late mother.

Ortega’s bass drum throbs in the opening of the song, meant to represent a heartbeat ahead of the lyrics on loss and reconnecting with loved ones in the afterlife.

“The first verse is about losing a loved one. The second verse is about seeing them again and reminiscing about our lifes,” Ybarra said. “Pretty much about losing a loved one but having hope of seeing them again. When my niece passed away, I was kind of inspired by that.”

“Angel’s Bridge” was on Stranded’s list of original songs for years, but Ortega said it was always one of their favorites to play and last year he demanded it be committed to a recording.

“We had it on the back burner,” he said. “I said ‘We’re recording it. Now it’s set in stone.’”

Drummer Raul Ortega plays with his band Stranded, April 27, 2021 in Carlsbad.

The personal sentiment recently translated into success as the song became a finalist for a New Mexico Music Award.

The statewide contest seeks entries for more than 40 categories hitting almost all genres from Native American traditional to Electronica and hip-hop. The contest has been run for 34 years and is intended to celebrate local New Mexico musicians. 

Stranded’s song was a finalist in the Modern Rock category and the band competes compete against five other musicians, all from major cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

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