Dust City Opera
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Dust City Opera

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2018 | MAJOR

Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States | MAJOR
Established on Jan, 2018
Band Folk Rock



The best kept secret in music


"Turn It Up: Dust City Opera"

The Dust City Opera is: Paul Hunton (lead vocals, guitar), Clara Byom (accordion, clarinet, keyboard), Justin McLauchlin (bass), Greg Williams (drums), Jared Putnam (lead guitar, vocals), Travis Rourk (trombone, trumpet, vocals), and Sydney Counce (business manager, booking agent)

How did Dust City Opera get together and how did you come up with the name?

I (Paul) volunteered a band, that didn’t exist yet, to open a friend’s CD release show. I had been trying get a band going for some time and I had enough experience and connections to try it again. I had played with Travis in a jazz big band, I knew Greg from our time in Wildewood together, and Danny was in the short-lived Paul Hunton Band some years ago. I was stressing about finding the right guitar player and somehow it occurred to me to ask the bass player from Le Chat Lunatique to play guitar and it worked out beautifully. Then I stumbled on the profile of Clara, who played both clarinet and accordion,

and hoped that she would be cool. The rest is history! As for the name, Dust City Opera was the last incarnation of a band that started out as the Rough Ridge Raiders around 2009 or so. I liked the name and felt like it hadn’t had the chance to live up to its potential so I brought it back to life!

Describe to us Dust City Opera’s sound? Who are your musical inspirations?

At its core, Dust City Opera is folk-rock with horns. Sometimes dark and cheeky, it takes influence from some of my favorite artists, including Tom Waits, the Felice Brothers and the Handsome Family.

What can we expect to see from the band in the near future?

We’re a new band, we’ve just reached our 6-month mark so we have a lot in front of us. We’re hoping to put out our first studio album in early 2019 and we’re continuing to get our name out there by playing the local venue circuit to build our fanbase. We have had the pleasure of playing regularly at Canteen Brewhouse, The Mine Shaft Tavern, Marble Brewery, Tractor Brewing – the whole brewery scene has been very supportive of our music. We’re also working on publishing some videos online to extend our reach outside of the local scene.

Anything else you would like to share about the band?

We encourage folks to come to shows and get to know us! We also have a great online presence and post new content on our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pages frequently and we have a pretty sweet website: dusticityopera.com. Our business manager Sydney is a great resource for people who want to get in touch with the band. She can be reached at dustcityopera@gmail.com. - NM Entertainment Magazine

"Visit Albuquerque Local's Guide to Music"

The Dust City Opera is an indie folk-rock band led by singer/songwriter Paul Hunton. They’re known for their unique instrumentation, vibrant covers, and crafty songwriting, which draws from a variety of eclectic influences. Dust City's music blends elements of rock, jazz, classical, and alt-country. Members of the band include some of Albuquerque's top musicians, including Clara Byom, Justin McLauchlin, Greg Williams, Jared Putnam, Travis Rourk, and Paul Hunton. - Visit Albuquerque


Still working on that hot first release.



The Dust City Opera is the Southwest’s freshest indie folk-rock band led by singer/songwriter Paul Hunton. They’re known for their unique instrumentation and crafty songwriting, often juxtaposing dark, bold subject matter over whimsical, light-hearted melodies. Hunton’s songwriting is strikingly visual and spans the spectrum from playful to apocalyptic, balancing his powerful voice over exceptional arrangements of dreamy guitar licks and intensely rich horns. They are an unusual combination of sounds, including the expected rock band instruments, as well as trombone, accordion, clarinet and more.


Their genre is best described as folk-rock with influences from rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, classical, and alt-country. Artists they like and are inspired by include: Cake, Tom Waits, Chris Cornell, the Handsome Family, and the Felice Brothers.


Formed in early 2018, the Dust City Opera has quickly gained attention around the state, performing numerous shows including the notable 2018 Downtown Summerfest in Albuquerque, NM where they opened for national headliner, The Robert Randolph Family Band.


DCO was recently featured in Visit Albuquerque Local’s Guide in partnership with Dirt Road Travels, and has appeared in television, radio, and magazine interviews with The New Mexico Inquisition (Aug. 2018), Roots of Indie (Oct. 2018) and NM Entertainment Magazine (Oct. 2018), respectively. Upcoming appearances are currently scheduled with KUNM Radio’s Ear to the Ground program, Albuquerque Journal, & KRQE News.