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Christian Lopez sees the road ahead

Courtesy photo
Christian Lopez (left) and his band, Joe Taxi, perform on the steps of the State Capitol during the Sesquicentennial Celebration this summer. The group plays the Boulevard Tavern Saturday.
Courtesy photo
Martinsburg's Christian Lopez (center) and his Joe Taxi bandmates (bassist Dominic Valentine, left, and percussionist Michael Silver) play Charleston's Boulevard Tavern Saturday night.
WANT TO GO?Christian Lopez and Joe TaxiWHERE: Boulevard Tavern, 806 Kanawha Blvd. E.WHEN: 10 p.m. SaturdayTICKETS: $5 INFO: Call 304-205-7951 or visit www.theboulevardtavernwv.com______CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Christian Lopez has a clear-cut vision of what he wants to do with his music. The 18-year-old singer/songwriter from Martinsburg doesn't lack for ambition or talent. After taking two stabs at fame on "American Idol," the Shepherd University student is out with his band, Joe Taxi, trying to build a music career the old-fashioned way: by playing shows.In advance of the rootsy folk rock/folk pop band's performance Saturday night at the Boulevard Tavern, the gazz spoke to Lopez about where he's been and where he wants to go.Q: How far did you get on "American Idol?"
A: I was on Seasons 11 and 12. The first year for me was kind of like a trial version. I got out to the group round in Hollywood.My second year, I take some more pride in that one, because I was more ready. It was a crazy process, especially with all those preliminary rounds, but I got out to Hollywood, and I was part of the top 37.Q: When did you get started with music?A: I started taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old. I was really lucky. My mother is a music teacher, and she set a foundation for me. When I was 8, my parents got me a guitar, and that's where I decided what I really wanted to do was make music. After that, I started picking up other instruments. I took mandolin lessons for years and learned the harmonica, which I play in our live shows.Q: Are you the only musician in the family?
A: There's my mom, who teaches and sings. My dad has really great musical taste, and he's really good on the business side of things. My sister is more of a photographer; she takes all the band's promo photos. And my brother plays drums -- but he's only 13. He plays the hell out of those drums, but I don't know if that's what he wants to do.Q: What about the rest of your band? Who are they?A: Dominic Valentine is our bass player. He's just a great guy with great skills. He lives in Shepherdstown, where I go to school. Michael Silver is our drummer, and he's really good -- and just 16. He goes to school at Martinsburg High School.Q: What's ahead for Christian Lopez and Joe Taxi?A: We're recording a new CD, which is slow going with school. We're also making calls and sending out press kits to people and booking for the summer festivals in 2014. I think next year is going to be a big year for us.Our big ambition is try to get to Scotland. My godfather lives in Glasgow, and Dom knows some people in England. We're trying to make something happen over there, which would be great. Reach Bill Lynch at or 304-348-5195.
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