Interview: Singer/songwriter Max Gomez is headed to Vashon

He’s putting the finishing touches on his third album, “Memory Mountain,” set for release this summer.

Max Gomez, a New Mexico-based singer and songwriter known for carrying the torch of Western troubadours including Michael Martin Murphy and Ray Wylie Hubbard, will appear in an intimate concert presented by Debra Heesch at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at Snapdragon Bakery & Café.

Islander Steve Itterly will open the show.

Gomez — a songwriter’s songwriter who has opened for Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp and Tommy James and the Shondells, and also hit the road with Americana stars Shawn Mullins, James McMurty, Buddy Miller, Jim Lauderdale, Patty Griffin and John Hiatt — is now putting the finishing touches on his third album, “Memory Mountain,” set for release this summer.

Many who have followed his career are looking forward to the release, and those on Vashon familiar with his oeuvre are stoked that he will soon be standing on an island stage.

“Max Gomez is the real deal,” said islander and well-known singer, songwriter and producer Pete Droge. “His songs are bulletproof. His guitar playing is effortless and skillful. And he has a gift of a voice. We’re fortunate to have an artist of his caliber grace our fair island.”

Heesch concurred, calling Gomez’s show a “must-see” concert.

Gomez grew up listening to the storytelling of John Prine — an artist he is regularly compared with — and puzzling out the chords to old blues songs on his first guitar.

And now, at 36, he’s been in the music game for a long time — having gotten his start on New Mexico stages as a young teenager and taking it from there.

He released his critically acclaimed debut album, “Rule The World” in 2013, on New West Records, and followed that up with an EP, “Me and Joe,” in 2017. The EP’s breakthrough classic, “Make It Me,” has been listened to more than four million times on Spotify.

In an interview last week, The Beachcomber caught up with Gomez after he pulled over to the side of the road in the wine country of California, on his way to another gig. His trip to Vashon is part of a full tour starting in early March — winding its way from the Northwest to Oklahoma, Texas, and Mississippi, then back home to New Mexico by way of Colorado and Arizona.

He’s looking forward to coming to Vashon, he said, recalling “the community of people and the beauty of that little rainy island” he experienced during his first visit here — an outdoor show he played in 2021 as the world was still emerging from the isolation of the COVID lockdown.

This time, he’ll be on tour as a solo act — a way of playing he said he finds liberating because it gives him the freedom to improvise and connect with the crowd and his own heart as he plays a show.

“I try to just be as authentic as I can be,” Gomez said. “When I can do that, my shows seem to connect the most — when there is zero effort and I’m able to spit out whatever comes to my mind.”

Gomez said that even in his work as an opening act for big names in the music business, on big stages, he’s found that same freedom of self-expression in performing alone on stage.

“I kind of treat [the audience] like they’re my fans at a honkytonk bar and that they’re there to hear my music,” he said.

But in performing solo, Gomez has been known to have a trick or two up his sleeve — at his holiday show on Dec. 29, in his hometown of Taos, for instance, he suddenly welcomed his friend Joe Ely — a Texas singing and songwriting legend — to join him on stage.

He also said that on Vashon, another special guest is likely to join him during his show at Snapdragon.

Describing his work as a songwriter, Gomez said that his best songs have been born through tumultuous emotional experiences that he processed through the act of songwriting.

“When you have some sort of love or emotion that you can’t set aside that is pounding on the door and you have to take it to the guitar or the piano and let it out that way …. those tend to be my favorite songs,” he said. “Those are the ones that tend to hit you over the head.”

Find out more about Gomez at and purchase tickets for the show here.