2018 Flagpole Music Awards "Singer-Songwriter of the Year", Cortez Garza, is an Athens, GA based singer-songwriter influenced by the likes of Steve Earle, Woody Guthrie, and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Traditionalism meets innovation with Cortez Garza and his brand of Americana, from his unique and technical guitar work to his thought provoking and intentional lyrics, all rounded off by a touch of classic folk harmonica. Making his rounds to promote his latest release, "The Low Vibe," Cortez recently wrapped a nation wide tour that spanned from California to New York. As well as being named 2018 Singer-Songwriter of the Year, He also received a Flagpole Music Award for Best Video for his song, "Immortal." In addition to taking home two coveted awards, Cortez and his band were 2018 Athfest headliners, performing on the BMI Hull Street Stage. Cortez Garza has performed at The North GA Folk Festival consecutively the last 3 years, even hosting his own songwriters stage, featuring many other notable up and coming songwriters. Cortez was also a headliner for the inaugural Vic Chestnutt Songwriter Of the Year Award Ceremony and was even a nominee to be a recipient of the award for 2017 and 2018. Cortez Garza was also awarded a songwriting scholarship, picked personally by Steve Earle, to attend and teach at his 2018 Camp Copperhead where he performed his original songs and shared the stage with songwriting legends and fellow workshop instructors Chely Wright, Anders Osborne, and even Steve Earle, himself.
In March 2018, Cortez released his sophomore effort independently, which was met with critical acclaim. His album "The Low Vibe" featured members of Cracker, Cicada Rhythm and a long list of other regional and national veterans of the americana and rock music scenes. Athens' own Flagpole Magazine’s Gordon Lamb said, “Cortez Garza makes mid-tempo magic," while The Atlanta Auditory Association’s Chris Martin said, “Musically, Garza takes familiar Americana/Country sounds tweaking and manipulating them to his will creating a multilayered soundscape listeners will get lost in”. Nodepression.com’s, Stacy Chandler included “The Low Vibe” on her “Now Hear This" List, along with other featured artists such as Jack White, Dom Flemons and Don McLean.