November 20, 2003

Test Spin: Los Lonely Boys

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Los Lonely Boys, a trio comprised of the Garza brothers — Henry, Jojo, and Ringo (yup, he’s the drummer) — make their debut with an eponymous release recently issued via Or Music. The album is a wonderfully rich and nuanced amalgamation of musical genres, incorporating important elements of the Blues, Tex-Mex, Rock, and Country. Hailing from Texas, The Garza brothers have made a stunningly beautiful and soulful album. The comparisons to Santana and Los Lobos are inevitable — and they’re certainly valid. But the Garza brothers have succeeded in crafting a sound and style that is uniquely theirs. It is an amazingly textured and innovative approach to interpreting deeply rooted musical traditions. Discovered by Willie Nelson (who makes a lovely guest appearance on the record), the band’s sound is raw but not rough. Producer John Porter does a masterful job of retaining the group’s authenticity without sacrificing accessibility. The brothers’s playing is first-rate. Henry, in particular, shows an uncanny ability to seamlessly combine genres in his fiery guitar work. And Jojo and Ringo lay down a rock solid foundation firmly grounded in latin rhythmic styles. Tracks like “Senorita” and “Heaven” showcase the Garza’s pop sensibilities and impeccable arranging skills. And while these are standouts, there’s not a bad song on this disc. They may be lonely, but this disc makes some of the best listening company we’ve heard all year.

Archived article by Mathew Gewolb