The Pulse finds the Pulse of the Blues at Sparkys

Tunes: Sparky’s Green Chile Room a blues haven

By Lucas Peerman / Pulse Editor
Posted: 12/08/2011 01:00:00 AM MST
Click photo to enlarge

C.W. Ayon One Man Band had an album release party in the Green Chile Room… (Gabe Payan/For Pulse)

Sparky’s Burgers, Barbeque & Espresso, open slightly less than four years, has built a reputation on the tasty treats inside and super-sized statues outside. But in the past year, the Hatch eatery has also beckoned hungry travelers with a third option — some of the best tunes in the Southwest emanating from the adjoining Green Chile Room.This weekend, the Green Chile Room — used for extra seating during the lunch rush and as a concert hall most weekends and some weekday nights — will celebrate its first birthday.

In the Year 1 scrapbook are concert photos of some of the best blues musicians in the world and the well-earned title as the Home of the Blues in Southern New Mexico.

Sparky’s owner Teako (pronounced “Tiko”) Nunn says the room actually opened Nov. 12, 2010, when it was host to his surprise 61st birthday party. The room has rarely been quiet since, capturing within its walls the sounds of novice blues players gathering for jam sessions every Sunday afternoon to a November show by Tommy Castro, the 2008 Blues Music Award winner for Entertainer Of The Year.

“Tommy Castro coming to Sparky’s is like Taylor Swift coming to Sparky’s. That’s how big Tommy Castro is on the blues food chain. He’s right at the top,” Nunn said.

A blues aficionado, Nunn said he is living a dream being able to offer a venue for top-notch musicians. Many are looking for a place to play on their way between shows in Arizona or Northern New Mexico and Texas, and


Hatch is great resting spot.”We give ’em some food, we give ’em some gas, we give ’em a place to stay the night,” Nunn said.

In addition to Castro, the Green Chile Room has also been host to shows from T-Model Ford and Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors, two renowned artists in the blues genre. There’s blues concerts and jam sessions from local artists every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, as well as a country-bluegrass jams on Monday nights.

The Green Chile Room is an intimate venue, about 2,100 square feet with seating for about 100 at one end and room for dancing near the raised stage on the other end.

Teako and his wife, Josie, collect antiques, which they’ve placed on shelves surrounding the inside of the venue.

“There’s antique radios, ad signs, cookie jars, old toys,” he said. “People will tell me they see a new one and I just smile because they’ve been there all along; there’s just so much to see.”

The Green Chile Room one-year anniversary celebration will feature performances from Cooper Ayon, aka C.W. Ayon One-Man Band, and Charlie Humphrey, aka Old Gray Mule.

Ayon, a Las Cruces musician who won a New Mexico Music Award for Best Blues Song in 2010, is a regular at the Green Chile Room, performing there about once and month and in January he had his album release party there. This will be Ayon and Humphrey’s first performance stateside since the duo returned from a three-week tour of Australia in November.

“We’ll show off our Australian accents,” he laughed. Truthfully though, Ayon said he’s honored be performing in the Green Chile Room on Saturday. “Teako treats all the musicians that come through great, and it’s such an awesome place to play.”

Nunn said he has many big name blues players — Reverend Deadeye, Molly Gene, Ray Cashman and Hummel, again — lined up for shows in the Green Chile Room in 2012. Plus, he’s encouraging street performers (jugglers, artists, etc.) to come to Sparky’s to entertain guests in line on the weekends. Performers will be paid in tips and some free grub.

Also, for Saturday’s celebration, beer from the Mimbres Microbrewery will be available. It will be the first time alcohol will be sold at the venue. It may not be the last.

“We’re gonna try it out and sit how it fits,” Nunn said.

Burgers, BBQ, the blues and a beer? Sounds like an “A” to us.


Pulse Editor Lucas Peerman can be reached at (575) 541-5446.


If you go

What: Sparky’s Green Chile Room 1st Anniversary Party

Who: C.W. Ayon One-Man Band and Old Gray Mule

When: 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: 115 N. Franklin St., Hatch

How much: Free