The 10 Best Mexican-American Musicians from Texas

How many Selenas can there be on one list? Let's find out.
How many Selenas can there be on one list? Let's find out.
Jim Bricker

Cinco de Mayo is the day when a relatively small section of Mexico celebrates a victory over the French in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla. Of course, this being America, we look for anything and everything to exploit in honor of the almighty dollar and the almighty excuse to slip out of work early to indulge in some happy hour shenanigans.

But if you're going to co-opt a culture's traditions, you might as well listen to some of its music — and Texas is rich with Mexican-American artists. So seeing how you'll be sipping poorly made margaritas by 3 o'clock, here's a list of the 10 best Mexican-American Musicians from Texas to listen to while you get side-eyed for saying "Cinco de Drinko!" before doing overpriced Patron shots.

See also: Selena to Be Celebrated This Weekend With Parties All Around Dallas The 10 Best Bars in Dallas to Get Drunk on the Cheap

10. Selena Gomez

She dated Justin Beiber, had a Disney Channel show, was creepily sexualized in that James Franco movie you didn't see, and she sings, because Disney knows how to make money off its stars. Her 2013 single "Come and Get It" peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went triple platinum. She has briefly lost her title as Disney pop star to Ariana Grande, so expect her to come back with a fury with her forthcoming album that she's working on with EDM superstar Zedd.

9. Alejandro Rose-Garcia

Aka Shakey Graves aka the guy your girlfriend won't stop talking about aka the dude you're going to be sort of impressed by when you are 6 beers in at Homegrown Festival on Saturday. The former child actor (and still sometimes actor when Robert Rodriguez needs someone to look moody in front of a green screen) has had the alt-country world abuzz since his debut Roll the Bones dropped in 2011. His 2014 album And the War Came has called endless people to declare the rebirth of country music has arrived. He's also extremely handsome.

8. Chingo Bling

The Houston based rapper gleefully exploits the political climate surrounding the immigration issues in America by parodying many right wing beliefs about Latinos, while coyly winking at the culture that surrounds him. He's a master at marketing and self-promotion, so much so that the New York Times once called him the Masa Messiah because of his love of rapping and talking about tamales. He's hip-hop's politically charged Mexican Weird Al, and he's the best.

7. Bobby Pulido

The son of Tejano legend Roberto Pulido, the Edinburg-bred Bobby has been on top of the Spanish music world since he blended Tejano with the country music sound he grew up with in Texas in 1997 with his debut album Desvelado. From there it's been hit album after hit album and giant crowd after giant crowd. He's 44 now, and it doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Think of him as the Tejano Tim McGraw.

 

6. Trini Lopez

The Dallas native broke into the big time in 1963 with his cover of Pete Seeger's folk classic "If I Had A Hammer." Over his almost 60-year career, Lopez has genre hopped from folk to early Buddy Holly-style rock to Latin music and an ill-fated Disco attempt, never straying far from the public's eye. He has two custom Gibson model guitars named after him that are highly sought after by collectors including musicians like Dave Grohl. Oh, and he was one of the Dirty Dozen, which is so badass.

5. Alejandro Escovedo

The Austin music scene mainstay has done everything a singer-songwriter could ever dream to do: punk rock, alt-rock, cowpunk, alt-country, folk, Chicano rock, and, um, every other genre you can imagine. And he did this all while suffering from Hepatitis-C throughout most of his life. As for most Austin mainstay's he's got a extremely loyal fan base that allows him to still perform in venues the size of the Granada long after his artistic peak.

4. Flaco Jimenez

The world's greatest accordionist hails from San Antonio, and he's one of the foremost practitioners of Norteno and Conjunto music to ever live. A long time collaborator with Doug Sahm, Jimenez also worked with Ry Cooder, the Rolling Stones, Dr. John and Bob Dylan. Along with Sahm, Augie Meyers and Freddie Fender, Jimenez founded the Texas Tornadoes, eventually earning a Grammy award in 1990. This past February the Grammys awarded Jimenez a Lifetime Achievement award for contributions to the world of music dating back to the 1940s, when he started his career playing with his father Santiago Jiménez Sr.

3. At the Drive-In

Truly the most diverse band on here, the group contains two Mexican-American members along with Puerto Rician and Lebanese-American members. The group formed in El Paso in the '90s and became gods of the post-hardcore scene. Known for their ear-splitting performances and wild onstage antics, the group left an enduring legacy when it split up in 2001 — so enduring that the 2011 announcement of its reunion was one of the first instances of social media collapsing on itself in excitement. (The group's announced shows sold out in minutes, and left fans clamoring for more.) "Invalid Litter Dept." delves into the plight of young women who live and work in the El Paso adjace city of Juarez Mexico which has been plagued by a seemingly endless series of rapes, kidnappings and murders.

 

2. Freddie Fender

Fender (formally Baldemar Huerta) found wide acclaim in 1959 when he scored a hit with the balled "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights," only to see it all be pulled away from him when he and a bandmate we're busted for pot in Louisiana in 1960. As a result, Fender spent three long years in the notorious Angola Farm Prison. It would be a decade before Fender found another hit, but that hit, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," is a bona fide country classic, and Fender would follow it with three straight No. 1 hits. The always prodigious Fender would spend the ensuing decades genre hopping, dabbling in Louisiana swamp rock, Tejano as part of the Texas Tornadoes and Los Super 7, and finally traditional Mexican Boleros. Fender passed away in 2006 noting before he passed that he would like to be the first Mexican-American inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. It's an honor he has not received yet, but one that seems like only a matter of time.

1. Selena

You really thought anyone else was gonna be No. 1?

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