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Not lonely anymore

Ted Alvarez

Characterizing the music of Los Lonely Boys can be difficult: They fuse elements of rock ‘n’ roll, blues, country, Mexican conjunto and pop music to create their signature sound, but it never sounds like anything but their own invention. Luckily, singer-guitarist Henry Garza created his own apt metaphor to get the idea across to people who like their music but couldn’t figure out what to call it. “It’s the Musical Burrito Theory, man,” Garza said in a hazy Texan drawl from a cab in Baltimore. “It’s just a fun way to explain it. We have an original or a unique mix where we’re the tortilla, and we just combine the knowledge of all these teachers – everyone from my dad to Hendrix, The Beatles, Stevie Ray Vaughn. Then we just mix it up and feed it to everybody, man.” Los Lonely Boys formed in San Angelo, Texas, and Henry and his brothers JoJo (bass/vocals) and Ringo (drums/vocals) form the core of the band. They began their musical careers together at a young age, backing their father’s conjunto gigs in cantinas and honky tonks across Texas. But when the boys started playing solo, they couldn’t help but work in the influence of their own rock ‘n’ roll and country heroes into the traditional music their father taught them. The result was something wholly new, especially to San Angelo. “Where we’re from, nobody heard of it before,” Henry said. ” We heard a lot of, ‘What kind of music do you play? Is it country, blues, pop?’ It’s Texican rock ‘n’ roll, man.”The unique formula caught the ear of country legend Willie Nelson, who signed them to his label and resolved to champion them in the music industry. With their self-titled album, Los Lonely Boys coasted on the strength of their chart-busting single “Heaven” to mainstream success and a Grammy for Best Performance by a Group or Duo with Vocal.

Los Lonely Boys are unique in that their singular fusion of styles endears them to listeners of all stripes; they’ve been successful on pop, rock, country, Spanish-language and even adult-contemporary radio formats. Their follow up, 2006’s “Sacred,” bowed to rave reviews and enraptured audiences. On “Sacred,” the brothers Garza brought things full circle by playing with both Willie Nelson and their father. All the brothers enjoy reputations as crack musicians with impeccable talent, and their “musical burrito” approach to music inspires collaboration in other artists. They performed with Carlos Santana on his 2005 album, “All That I Am,” for the song “I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love.” “Man, we want to play with anybody and everybody,” Garza said. “Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney – there’s a world filled with so many great talents and musicians leaving a mark.”They may not have played with a Beatle yet, but they got close when they were asked to record John Lennon’s “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” for Amnesty International’s “Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur” benefit album.”Yoko Ono and all them got together, and they were talking about (doing a tribute album with) all the John Lennon stuff,” Garza said. “We’re like, ‘Sure, man, we’d love to stick one on it.’ The funny thing was, everybody took their song before us, and we looked at what was left over. So we put a Texican twist on it. It’s got that original flavor, we just had fun adding our own style.”Los Lonely Boys have also just released “Cottonfields and Crossroads,” a documentary now on DVD about their improbable musical triumph from humble beginnings in San Angelo. Filming began before their success and concluded after, so it contains unique insight at a critical time in the band’s evolution.

“It’s a really cool story – and informative – about Mexican culture and the rise of our success,” Garza said. “It started before we were anywhere. It’s crazy, bro. We shed tears when we watched it, along with lots of laughter. It’s really weird, though, to take a look back and see your whole life set to music.”With their breakthrough complete and the sophomore slump cleanly defeated via the success of “Sacred,” the Garza brothers are anxious to record again, but don’t expect any difficult experimental albums or half-hearted attempts at branching out. They’ll do it in their own time, with their own style, which got them where they are in the first place. “We’re just looking forward to doing what we do, playing from the heart and using what God gives us,” Garza said. “It’s a natural process for us, know what I mean? There’s the connection (in) knowing that we’re all brothers that you just can’t explain outside your family. Overall, we’re close – it’s sort of fun being brothers and rocking out in the band. The toughest part would be missing our families back home, man.”But in the meantime, they can take comfort from the crowds of rapt fans that turn every Los Lonely Boys show into an out-and-out Texas-style party. “It’s simple – we’re just trying to survive and keep playing music and (keep) bringing it to the people, man,” Garza said. “You look out there, and you’re doing something that creates movement in their body. That’s something magical. You feel it, man.”=========



The ‘Musical Burrito Theory’ What: Los Lonely Boys bring a Texican rock show to Beaver Creek.Where: Vilar Center.When: July 25 at 8 p.m.Cost: Tickets are $58/$68/$78 based on seating. For more info call 888.920.2787 or visit http://www.vilarcenter.org.=========


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