YabYum Seven: Tawny Gamboa

Tawny 11. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Tawny Gamboa, I am a mother to a two year old little boy named Leo Christopher and expecting my second son in late September! I am blessed to say I am able to do what I love…I create! I am a custom artist, muralist, and art instructor.

2. How did you get your start?Tawny 2

Art and painting has always been part of my life since a very young age, but not until after my brother passed away four years ago did I begin to question my way of living. I decided I needed to make a drastic change for the better or else be consumed by addiction and depression. I decided to regain my inner peace, move forward in the right direction and I used art as a positive healing tool and began painting to create beauty in my world which also brought joy to others as well. Soon after, I noticed I was being asked to paint for others and with such encouragement I decided I needed to turn my everyday hobby into a living.

3. What inspires you?

A lot of things and people inspire me…My family, my emotions or everyday experiences shape a lot of what I paint. Other amazing artists such as Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh are my top three inspirational artists I admire.

4. What do you like about AZ?

I am a native to Tempe Arizona and love the openness and magnitude of it’s beautiful sunsets and skies. Not until I lived in other states did I truly appreciate the desert landscape and beautiful sunsets. AZ is captivating and inspiring and is my home. Most of all my family lives in AZ and I am very close to my family.

5. Where can we see you(r) work?

Most of my work is commissioned artwork and murals at private homes throughout the valley and country but images of my work can be seen on my website here, my FB page Arte del Amor- Tawny Gamboa and my Instagram account Tawnymg3. I was given the opportunity to paint a utility box for the city of Tempe off of 3rd Street and Ash Avenue which can be viewed by the public.

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6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?

A dream of mine is that I hope to one day receive my masters in Art Therapy in the hopes of opening an art therapy center or an art studio/gallery where I can provide art therapy sessions for individuals with special needs as well as feature students’ artwork in the hopes that they too can become empowered through their creations.

7. What is your mantra?

I believe in Karma. What you put out into the universe whether it is positive or negative will ultimately come back to you. I am a believer in helping others whenever possible, a simple act of kindness will go a long way. I feel art in a sense is a way to help others either by pure motivation, inspiration and can be used to spread positivity to whomever views it.


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Why You Should Listen: The Smiling Faces

The Smiling Faces - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blogby Frank Ippolito
Associate Editor

I love listening to demos. I mean, really, really love. Why you ask? Well I’m gonna tell you.

First off, I enjoy the simple raw sound – the absolute embryonic essence of a band putting down its very first footprints on tape. Er, digital, something or other.

Secondly, it takes balls. Real big huevos. Because, while you (the band) may feel real good about the songs, the listening mass will not think about it (the demo) that way. They will have one of two thoughts regarding the recording:

1. It totally sucks
2. They will love it

Like I said, big balls. Which brings me to Smiling Faces and their demo, “Too many Mikes”.

I loved it. It’s raw. The lyrics and musicianship is terrific.

Why you should listen:
Because these guys – Eric Gallagher, Josh Kelzer and Benjamin Arthur – lay their souls bare on these four tracks.

What you should listen for:

If you’re a musician, take a cue, because it’s not the layering and layering of tracks that make a record. (BTW, a demo in the hands of the wrong engineer/producer is doomed, this one, was in the capable fingers of Russ Hill and Oliver Lemke at Krieger’s Lab. Good job, guys.

What they sound like:

Think the raw vocals of The Dead Milkman meet the jingle jangle guitars of The Meat Puppets. High praise, but these guys got potential.

Perfect listening for:

Pretty much hanging out, chilling. Preferably with the rain pouring down, smoking Lucky Strikes.*


Listen to The “Too Many Mikes” Demo by The Smiling Faces here.


*YabYum does not encourage the smoking of cigarettes. And stop giving them to our editors.

5 Live & Local Music Videos

Bogan Via

Live Session at La Communa Rooftop

“Real Thing”

Live at Saltmine Studios

Coyote Mustache
“Just Cause”

Live at Bon Iverson

Logan & Lucille

from Folk-O-Rama Sessions

Michelle Blades
“Water is Wide”

from POPnews

3 Astounding EPs You Should Be Listening To

YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogMike Montoya


Are you fucking kidding me? That was my very first thought as I starting listening to the new EP from Mike Montoya, formerly known as Fatigo. KIND is one of the best things I’ve heard this year. From the moment it starts through to the very end, Montoya proves his commitment to unique and thoughtful songcraft, delivered in distinctive, southwestern folk. The EP opens with the song “Trailboss” which features Nowhere Man and a Whisky Girl (as does the closing track). The duo’s posthumous appearance only add to the subtlety embedded mystical undercurrent felt throughout this completely unassuming EP. “Catch a Fly” has an easy-going summer feel that made it an early favorite. “Hold Mine” and “Copters” are shorter tracks, each clocking in under a minute and a half, but they are every bit as compelling as the longer songs heard on KIND. “Cactus Grave” closes the EP and offers listeners the second appearance of Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl. I would say it’s my favorite song, but I realize that I’ve changed my mind on each and every listen. From beginning to end, KIND is my kind of album: a dusty, desert folk masterpiece. Find out for yourself here.


The Stakes - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music BlogThe Stakes

The Stakes Music Vol. 1

The hiphop-jazz-funk fusion of The Stakes has been making its way around the Valley scene for a few years now honing their skills and solidifying their sound. The release of The Stakes Music Vol. 1 earlier this year was the culmination of that work. The six-track EP offers the smoothly flowing hiphop that has defined the band’s live sound. Mixing the emcee styles of ZeeDubb and Lord Kash with vocal powerhouse Holly Pyle, The Stakes achieves a perfect symbiosis of sound. Ben Scolaro (keyboards), Caleb Veazey (guitar), Alex Meltzer (bass, MPC), and Kevin Phillips (drums) are the talented players that complete The Stakes’ lineup. The release opens with “Hi-Lo”, a super cool number that starts with a meandering pace but quickly gets amped up. Other emcees should take notes on lyrical prowess from The Stakes Music Vol. 1. “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” offers a perfect example of the successful sharing of vocal duties that really sets The Stakes apart from other hiphop acts making their way around the Valley circuit. Holly Pyle’s move from smokey and sultry to an all-out flurry of energy and power. Fans of hiphop, jazz, and good music in general will enjoy this first collection of music from The Stakes. Let’s hope this is just the first of many releases to come. Listen for yourself here and get ahold of your very own copy.


Sunset Voodoo

Strange Things

The psychedelic indierockers known as Sunset Voodoo have been hard at work on new material. They released their EP, Strange Things, earlier this year. Sunset Voodoo has a sound made for those of us that kept our Incubus albums past 2003. Lots of folks beyond this grouping will find Sunset Voodoo jam worthy, but if you fall into this aforementioned category, Sunset Voodoo will be your new favorite locals. They have that same style of melody-heavy alt-rock, but with their own modern take. The EP opens with the title track; a song that dynamically shifts throughout, a signature move for the band. “Summer Haze”, one of the singles from the album, achieves that listless summer mellow that defines the season with its thoughtfully restrained rock. You can sample tracks from Strange Things here. The EP is also available for purchase through iTunes here. Sunset Voodoo is a band you have to see live. While you’re at it, I suggest checking out the music video for “Summer Haze” as well. You can view that here.


6 Worthy Causes in the Arts

Hey all you local art lovers! The time has come to offer up some community contributions to keep the cause of art moving! As an added bonus, you can score some special rewards for your support. Check out these worthy efforts below…

Help North Brother Island Record Their First Album

The Phoenix chamber folk ensemble known as North Brother Island have been a longtime favorite amongst those under-the-radar bands and now their ready to record their first studio album! Contributors can look forward to eclectic offerings like early copies of the album, music lessons, adventure kits, a new hairdo, or maybe even a private performance from the band. Check out their offerings and make your contribution here!

North Brother Island - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

Help Keep Four Chambers Press Alive

The folks over at Four Chambers Press could use a little support in keeping this independent community literary magazine and small press alive and well. Since their inception, Four Chambers Press has gone beyond the printed page to really bring a whole new level of literary engagement to the Phoenix area. Contributors can earn t-shirts, stickers, the complete Four Chambers catalogue, color art prints, invites to private events, or even a collection of poems or a story written about you! Learn more, and contribute, here!

The Limit Club European Tour Fund

 The Limit Club have been playing the local circuit for a decade now and they’re ready to make their second trip across the pond to tour Europe. The D.I.Y. group is not about to offer up nothing when asking for something. They’ve put all their merch and discography up for grabs in exchange for your contributions. From digital downloads to embroidered patches, these fan packages have it all. Check it out here and help The Limit Club take their music abroad!

YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

Help The Rifle Go into the Studio

After developing a following with their lofi-bedroom recordings, Tucson indierockers The Rifle are ready to record their first studio project! They’ve reached their very modest funding goals, but there’s still time to earn some rad swag from the band for an early contribution! Thus far, no one, and I repeat, no one has puchased the option of kissing band member Ryan on the mouth. Stickers, buttons, early downloads, even credit on the album also available here.

The Rifle - YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

Help Plunge with Post-Production Costs

Local filmmaker Gianna Nicole is ready to make her directorial debut with a short film that she also wrote. The movie’s already been shot and now the cast and crew of Plunge are ready to go into post-production but they could use a little help with the costs. Be a part of the exciting movie-makng process with signed scripts, posters, or even executive producer credit! Find out more here!

Help the Melted Cassettes Overcome Tour Troubles

We’ve been longtime followers of Melted Cassettes. Actually, for almost as long as we’ve been a publication. They were in a car accident while on tour over the summer and lost their van, their equipment, and gained a slew of medical woes. They could use some help getting back on their feet so they can continue with their musical pursuits. Make your contribution here!

YabYum Music & Arts - AZ Music Blog

YabYum Seven: Rafael Navarro

Navarro Calliope1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Rafael Navarro; I was born and raised in Mexico City. I’m a visual artist based in Downtown Phoenix. I migrated to the US in 1989, I’m the oldest of five children, but all of them live happily in Mexico City. I’m the curious one in the family, I guess, the one that wanted to know what’s on the other side of the border.

I paint and make sculptures depending on the space available to work; when my work space is limited I have to hold back in three-dimensional work, I dislike the internal, and external limitations, but you have to make it work with what you have.

I have worked in almost every media; I like to experiment with different materials and subjects. I have worked on ceramics, printmaking, steel, copper, paper, silver, wood, and found objects. Many times I tend to add three-dimensional elements to my paintings. Many of my pieces have a surrealistic touch. I work on many different things. I tend to switch between themes and materials to keep my mind stimulated. Many of my pieces are related to music, the cycle of life, and iconic landmarks.

2. How did you get your start?

I have been making art ever since I was a child. I always felt the need to make things with my hands. Growing up my favorite toy was modeling clay. My mother has always been my best supporter whose sacrifices bought me my first modeling clay, my first paint set, my first color pencils. My father has the talent for making quick sketches, but he always had to work hard his whole life without the opportunity to develop this talent. When I migrated to the US 25 years ago, I saw the possibilities, so even when I hardly spoke any English, I signed up for an art class at SCC. From then on I was hooked, I continued taking art classes every time I had a chance.

Paper maché has a long tradition in Mexico. I started making paper maché sculptures for Dia de los Muertos here in the US, at Navarro La Espera
that time I had difficulty finding a gallery in Phoenix that would show them, but a small gallery in Tucson, Arizona – Jose Galvez Photography and Gallery – took them, and sold most of them. That was my first experience with galleries. My good friend, photographer John Holechek, was the first person that encouraged me and helped me on making my first portfolio by photographing all my artwork. I’m eternally grateful for that. Later on I challenged myself by taking on other mediums and subjects. I was like a sponge, always eager to learn new methods, and processes, always experimenting with new materials. The journey hasn’t been easy, but it has been very satisfactory.

3. What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from many places: other artists, music, my childhood memories, my cultural heritage, and my environment. I keep my senses open and my brain creates images from all that stimuli. As a child I remember watching a documentary on René Magritte, it made a great impression in my young mind. I also remember as a child spending long chunks of time in the numerous museums of Mexico City.

In the last few years, Chuck Close has been a great inspiration. He says, “Inspiration is for amateurs, for the rest of us we just have to show up and do the work… every great idea I’ve had grew out of work itself.” This is something I totally agree, I have lived it, I think about this everyday, and I try to live by it. I recommend anyone to watch a short video called “Letter to my Young Self” by Chuck Close. [watch here]

IMG_4861.JPG4. What do you like about AZ?

I love the mild winters here and the fact that I don’t have to worry about tornadoes, flooding, snowstorms, earthquakes, and all that kind of stuff, we only have to deal with the unkind heat. I like Phoenix because it’s very much a blank canvas with many possibilities. Sure it is not perfect, but no place is. I like the people, especially the numerous supportive friends I have made here, and I love all of them. My first memories of coming to Arizona are the blue sky, and the orange blossom smell; I think this is why you will find that blue sky in many of my paintings.

5. Where can we see you(r) work?

I share an art studio with my artist friends Abbey Messmer, and Joe Brklacich at The Lodge Art Studio on Grand Avenue and McKinley, in Downtown Phoenix, and we’re open to the public during every First Friday’s art walk. Please come visit.

6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?

I’m always open to learn new things. Travel offers the opportunity to learn about other cultures, languages, customs, currently I’m planning a trip to Italy right now to visit, and take a marble carving class. I would like to keep creating artwork until my last day.

7. What is your mantra?

Besides the advise from Chuck Close about inspiration and work, I think holding on to your dreams is very important. Never give up, be consistent, and take steps to reach those dreams. Another important thing is to be kind to yourself, and to others.

Navarro Arizona Monsoon Sonata in G minor Navarro Clair de Lune Navarro Embedded Navarro La Casa de los SuenÞos Navarro Lyric Navarro Passage of Time Navarro Piano Tree Navarro Sandia Bass Navarro Sleeping Muse Navarro Tovrea Dreams

Radio Phoenix Podcast with Dadadoh

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Dadadoh joined us at Phoenix Center for the Arts for Rise on Radio Phoenix! He brought along his own photographer and a slew of great songs to share. Check out the podcast here! The complete playlist can be found below! Thanks to Frank C. Photography for use of the picture!

Complete Playlist:

Dadadoh “Never (Invite Whack People to my Shows)”

Naked Pizza “I’m Full of Lust (and I Want You)”

Zodiac Bash “Vocosis”

Fairy Bones “Heat on the Lips”

Ruca “Shotgun”

Izzy Mintz “Southwest’s Finest 2.0”

MC/DC “Anatomy of Art”

Red Tank! “The Void”

Creatures “Justified”

Lindy Vision “Last Call, Last Shot”

Japhy’s Descent “Bounce”

The Woodworks “Someones Foot is in my Shoe”

The Doyenne “Telekinetic”

Recorded live on Aug. 5, 2015