Matthew Jason Gutierrez, a beloved spouse, father, and son who was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, went to be with the Lord on Sunday, October 22, 2023.
Matthew, 45 years old, graduated from Valley High School in 1996, majoring in music under the teachings of Ben Perea. His musical career path as a guitarist rapidly progressed into music writing, arranging, and production with the well-established band Crossroads, from Albuquerque, NM. Matthew's Father-in-Law, Phil Baca played bass and managed the band and asked Matthew to join the band. Upon starting with Crossroads, Matthew immediately began transitioning all of Crossroads' Spanish rancheras and cumbias into a Tejano music style. Matthew then began to teach, produce, arrange, and write music for the band. The band Crossroads was comprised of a full rhythm section, a 4 to 6-piece horn section, and an accordion player.
Matthew’s passion for the Tejano music genre led him to break through barriers like nothing before. Matthew was known as a Tejano music encyclopedia with how well he knew the history of Tejano music. In the late 1990s, Matthew studied under Carlos and Leo Saenz of the Latin Express Band out of Ft. Worth Texas. The brothers immediately took Matthew under their wings and expanded Matthew’s musical knowledge. Carlos taught Matthew Tejano music chording on the guitar. Leo taught Matthew to arrange and structure horn sections for when Matthew would write horn charts. In 2000, Matthew took the band Crossroads to the Tejano Music Capital of the World, San Antonio, TX., to perform at the Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair. Crossroads became one of the first Orquesta bands from outside Texas, that was accepted and welcomed into the Tejano music industry. Crossroads then performed in San Antonio for other award shows, clubs, festivals, and events. Matthew expanded the Crossroads music catalog by incorporating cover songs with large horn sections from Tower of Power, Chicago, and the like, into their live performances. The rapid growth of Crossroads in the Tejano music industry soon led to Matthew visiting the state of Texas at least once a month for radio tours, promotions, music recordings, or performances. This then led to Crossroads obtaining management representation with Ricardo Hernandez of Aur-Marc Management company in Dallas, TX.
Matthew garnered the attention, respect, and even shared the stage with many Tejano music legends and pioneers including Gilbert Velasquez, Johnny Hernandez, Jerry Lopez, Bob Gallarza, Carlos and Leo Saenz of the Latin Express Band, Jimmy Shortell, Bobby Esquivel of Liberty Band, Jimmy Lee, Max Baca of Los Texmanics, Stefani Montiel, Gabriel Zavala, Shelly Lares, Sunny Ozuna, Ruben Ramos & The Mexican Revolution, Rick Fuentes, Chente Barrera, Joe Posada, David Mares, and many, many more!
As a professional guitarist in the Tejano music industry, Matthew expanded his musical expertise and taught himself how to play a bajo sexto guitar which was added to the music catalog Matthew produced. Playing conjunto-style songs on stage was something that Matthew enjoyed. He would continually challenge his fellow musicians on stage as he would transition from song to song within 4-beats. Musicians who worked with Matthew on stage knew they had to be knowledgeable with conjunto music to keep up with whatever creative ideas he would communicate on stage at a moment's notice.
The direction Matthew led Crossroads in, earned the band three record label offers from some of the top record labels in the Tejano music industry at that time, touring the Southwest region of the United States and obtaining airplay nationwide and in Mexico. Matthew also worked in the recording studio with his Father-in-law with Bactrax Studios in Albuquerque, NM, and multi-Grammy award-winning producer and engineer, Gilbert Velasquez of Velasquez Music of San Antonio, TX. Gilbert who Matthew spoke with frequently, became one of Matthew's long-time friends in the industry.
Through the years, Crossroads earned numerous awards including "Cumbia, Salsa y Tropical Song of the Year," "Instrumental Song of the Year", "Conjunto Song of the Year," "Original Song of the Year," "Songwriter of the Year," "Male Vocalist of the Year," "Female Vocalist of the Year," "Album of the Year" and many music nominations from various music organizations. One of Matthew's biggest accomplishments was the self-titled project that he produced, wrote, and arranged for Crossroads, made it onto a Grammy ballot in 2006.
Matthew not only was a musical performer in the Tejano music industry but also wanted to help support and expand the industry. In September 2004, Matthew founded CR Music & Entertainment, CR was named after the band Crossroads. This local business provided Matthew the ability to work on music full-time while having the largest Tejano music store both in-person and online in New Mexico. The local business was something Matthew was very passionate about allowed him to expand his expertise into Graphic Design. Ruben Cubillos, a professional Graphic Designer and the creator of the famous "Selena" logo was Matthew's mentor and became one of his close friends. Matthew's professional graphic designs have been presented in many projects some of which include Grammy nominations.
Matthew was also a founding Partner of Heritage Audio Visual, located in Albuquerque, NM with his wife, Joy, and father-in-law, Phil. Matthew's creative ideas continued to evolve with custom set designs for every client he serviced. Matthew always enjoyed seeing his creative set designs come to life and was even more pleased when his clients shared the same excitement. Matthew held many titles with Heritage Audio Visual beyond a Partner which included a Project Manager, Video Switcher, Audio Technician, Lighting Technician, Production Manager, Rigger, and Graphic Designer. Matthew's most recent accomplishment was when he was able to combine his passion for Tejano music and production when he became the Production Director for the National Tejano Music Convention in Las Vegas, NV produced by David and Sarah Chavez.
Matthew's future plans were to work on arranging, writing, and producing another project for Crossroads. His most recent Tejano music projects included two rancheras, "Cuantas Veces" and "Mi Soledad". Cuantes Veces was a cover that Matthew originally heard a rendition of his friend singing, Ruben Cubillos, who was originally planned to sing on the recording. Mi Soledad was written by Gilbert Lopez, the father of Jerry Lopez, who gave Matthew a handwritten letter permitting him to cover the song before it was recorded. Matthew's other recent project "Nuevo Dia," a salsa cover, was recorded after the band Crossroads played the song live for over two years. The project included over 29 tracks and was Matthew's largest music recording project. Matthew had also begun production this past summer on a worship project with his wife, Joy.
Matthew's small family was of high importance to him. Matthew and his wife, Joy were high school sweethearts and were together for almost 30 years. They just celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary. Matthew selflessly was by his wife's side during a Thyroid Cancer diagnosis. He was with her at every single appointment, treatments and he sat in a hospital room for the 7-hour surgery. He was also present when she was declared cancer-free. His daughter Jazmine, he was so proud of her and was always there front and center for her. He would take her to school every morning and pick her up. He would also drive her to dance practices, wait in the parking lot some days, and be there to pick her up. He always cheered her on and supported her in all she did in dance, music, and academics. Matthew would also volunteer for his daughter's dance team and school any time they needed audio assistance and would help design locker decorations for the dance teams.
Matthew will be missed by his family, friends, employees, business associates in the hospitality industry, and those in the New Mexico and Tejano music industries.
On behalf of Matthew's wife Joy and daughter Jazmine, they would like to extend their sincerest appreciation for the outpouring of love and support they have received during this time.
Matthew is preceded in death by his brother Randy Gutierrez and his father Gilbert Gutierrez.
Matthew is survived by his wife Joy, daughter Jazmine, his mother Sally, Father-in-Law Phil Baca and his wife Diane, two Brothers-in-Law Johnny Baca and his wife Kris; Jeremy Baca and his wife Barbi; three Nieces, five Nephews, four Great-Nephews, many uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends.