By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Just when the Texas blues-rock sound as exemplified by Stevie Ray Vaughan felt like a dull old saw, along come three young Mexican-Americans to sharpen its teeth. The brothers Garza--Henry (guitar), Jojo (bass) and Ringo (drums, natch)--have been playing since their youth, first backing their father and then stepping out on their own during their teens as Los Lonely Boys. With the August release of their debut CD and the single "Heaven" scoring single of the year from Triple A radio (adult album alternative), they're well on their way to becoming the latest sensation from the Lone Star State.
The years of gigging result in an airtight, polyrhythmic trio sound and sweet harmonies, which provide a firm foundation and lovely bunting for the impressive six-stringing. At times the guitar work recalls both Vaughans, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and even George Harrison, and for whatever the band may (as yet) lack in originality and distinctiveness, the canny phrasing and liquid proficiency more than make up for it. And when they land back on the melody after soaring riffs, the chunky and even sometimes funky chording steers this group's songs along atop the percolating bottom end.
And it's the songs that save this act from mere guitar wizardry, no matter how dazzling the fireworks are. The tunes may be nothing profound, but they are as infectious as this year's winter flu, with the hooky choruses baited with the genetic interweave of the Boys' vocals. Sure, there's nothing new under this particular sun, but the youthful enthusiasm of their attack and loving homage within their style make it all sound bright and fresh. And with a bilingual repertoire, Los Lonely Boys just may put blues-rock en Spanglish on the national musical map.
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