Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Los Lonely Boys at City Winery

The Falcones was a sibling band that played conjunto music in southern Texas during the 1970s and 1980s. After the Falcones split apart, Ringo Garza, Sr. went solo, backed by his three adolescent sons. The family relocated to Nashville in the 1990s, and gradually the sons emerged as a second generation sibling trio separate from their father, performing their own material as a trio. Guitarist Henry Garza, bassist JoJo Garza, and drummer Ringo Garza, Jr. formed Los Lonely Boys, playing a style of music they call "Texican Rock n' Roll." They combined elements of rock and roll, Texas blues, brown eyed soul, country, Tex-Mex, conjunto and tejano music. Los Lonely Boys moved back to San Angelo, Texas, and recorded an eponymous debut album in 2003. The debut single, "Heaven," was a number one hit on the Billboard adult contemporary chart in 2004 and eventually won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. In March 2010, the group was awarded Best Rock Band in the Austin Music Awards. During a 2010 tour, however, JoJo developed lesions on his vocal cords and his physicians recommended that he rest them. Later, on a 2013 tour, Henry fell and sustained a spinal injury, necessitating a lengthy recovery period. The band recently resumed touring in support of the most recent album, Revelation, which was released on January 21.

Ten years after their 2004 breakthrough, the Garza brothers sounded as fresh and lively as a hungry new band. They outlived the one-hit-wonder death trap because the brothers have much more to offer. At City Winery tonight, Los Lonely Boys specialized in feel-good songs, weaving melodies and close-knit three-part harmonies that sounded like a sunny California summer. Yet this was not merely a pop concert. The Boys' music sounded light, but it originated from deep roots. Each of the Garzas crooned like soft Lionel Richie-type rhythm and blues singers, but it was the chunky instrumental portions of the songs that saved Los Lonely Boys from sounding like a wedding band. Balancing Tex-Mex sounds and 1960s British blues traditions in a sparse power trio format, Los Lonely Boys were equal parts Los Lobos, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Cream. Henry played a splendid blues-influenced guitar, bending notes with his fingers and channeling textured wah-wahs with his feet, the leads always subtly nuanced and always appealing. JoJo played a thick-necked six-string bass guitar, maintaining the bottom range with heavy yet melodic funk lines, while Ringo sweetly punched the rhythms on his drums. Together, they grooved on rock, soul, blues and even one reggae song. Many of the songs were not especially memorable, indicating that the Boys' songcraft may need bolstering, but instrumentally the music was as tasteful as possible.

Visit Los Lonely Boys at www.loslonelyboys.com‎.