No Other Way
“The American West is a terrible place in time. Everything out here that’s not you, wants to kill you”
New Mexico is an outlaw state that still carries a warning with it. It is dead last in almost everything you wouldn’t want it to be and first in nothing worth noting. Poverty and hunger are a constant struggle for the majority of its inhabitants and the stark reality of everyday life for many of its citizens is violence, drugs, and crime. Artists that come from this state carry a certain demeanor that is unique to the region, a jaded, tired, resilient and stubborn poise that refuses to become a statistic or a body. When poverty, lawlessness and a dry, barren state come together you have people struggle to even imagine a better life, yet alone live it.
An artist named Johnny James is meditating on the meaning of being from and of the state of New Mexico. With his latest single and video “No Other Way” he speaks on the condition of a life in the State, a no non-sense factual depiction of being a New Mexican. There are wild variations of what people think of New Mexico. There is the aging hipster of yesteryear population who imagine New Mexico to be some sort of Georgia O’Keefe painting backdrop. There is the out of state ridiculous ideation that all of New Mexico is either like a realistic version of The Hills Have Eyes or Breaking Bad. There is also the idea that this is a retiree’s playground filled with tourist traps and quaint towns filled with culture to absorb. Then there are the actual New Mexicans. The people who have lived some sort of variation of a romanticized New Mexico. Those who have seen the drug culture run much deeper than a popular television show, seen or heard first hand the stories of abuse and poverty much worse than a horror movie could ever represent. Those who are more than a generic artist depicting New Mexico in a unilateral lens of simplicity. There is Johnny James truly a New Mexican with experience. Reminding us, to survive and be genuinely here we have to, we don’t know “No Other Way”.