Finding the creative groove: NM-based Michael Rudd takes 30 years to find 'Paradise'

Apr. 20—Michael Rudd's journey to "Long Way from Paradise" was one filled with a windy road.

After years of playing in a punkabilly and blues band in Albuquerque, Rudd put his guitar down for the next 30 years.

Yet, the creative process continued.

Inside of his head, lyrics and melodies danced.

Yet it wasn't until 2023 that they began to make its way to the forefront.

"I didn't think of this as an album until October or the fall," Rudd says. "Though, I started writing songs that ended up on this album in August."

Rudd will get back on stage to celebrate the release of "Long Way from Paradise," his debut album, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, at Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery in Santa Fe.

Rudd admits to not having a writing process.

"I'll hear a melody in my head or I'll hear a couple of lines, and it just comes to me," he says. "I don't sit down to write music. It happens in some organic way that I don't fully understand."

The New Mexico-based musician also takes time to listen to what feels right.

"Not every song is there," he explains. "In the end, each one has to sound right to me. If there's something behind one note or a lyric, I'll pursue it. The process also doesn't ensure that I will end up with good songs. It just means that's where it starts."

In February, Rudd headed north to Santa Fe and recorded at Frogville Studios.

He brought along Pat Malone on electric and acoustic guitar, Asher Barreras on double bass, Mark Clark on drums, Jen Bixby on vocals and Jon Graboff on pedal steel guitar.

Rudd entered the studio with a set amount of songs as it ran parallel to his plan.

"By the time I got to Frogville, five of the songs were replaced with five others," Rudd says. "There were one or two songs that I wrote in the last few weeks before the sessions. It was just a matter of what felt right to me again."

While recording at Frogville Studios, Rudd immediately felt comfortable.

After 17 days of recording, it felt like home.

"It all came into place," he says. "I can't see recording somewhere else in the future. I will get back there for the next album."

Now that the album is complete and out to the world, Rudd feels great and looks forward to performing again.

"(The process) was a revelation and life changing," Rudd says. "It's really been an important moment for me.