Stage recording livens their latest album ‘Forgiven’
Los Lonely Boys are Garza brothers (from left) Ringo (drums), Henry (guitar) and Jo Jo (bass). Contributed photo
Los Lonely Boys
If “Forgiven,” sounds like it captures the essence of a Los Lonely Boys live performance, there’s good reason.
The album wasn’t recorded in a studio or refined with a bunch of overdubbed vocals or instrumental parts. Instead, producer Steve Jordan thought the right way to record Los Lonely Boys was to make the process feel as much like a live gig as possible.
He did that by setting up a sound stage in Austin hitting the record button and documenting what happened when brothers Henry (guitar), Jo Jo (bass) and Ringo Garza (drums) did what they knew best, played as a band.
“We had recorded pretty much live on every record,” Jo Jo Garza said, mentioning the two previous albums, a self-titled 2003 debut and the 2006 release, “Sacred.” “This, however, was very free. It was kind of like we had a stage in there.”
They’ll take the stage at Concrete Street Amphitheater at 7 p.m. Sunday. Alejandro Escovedo, a Texas rocker known for his live shows, will open.
The Los Lonely Boys hope whatever magic translated to the “Forgiven” CD will help reintroduce the band after its career took a bit of a step back with the “Sacred” album.
The group emerged out of San Angelo after growing up literally surrounded by music.
When the Garza brothers were children, their father fronted a band with his brothers and sister that gained considerable popularity in the Southern states. That group, though, came to a sudden and tragic end when one of the brothers died.
So as Henry, Jo Jo and Ringo were entering their teens, their father turned to his boys and made them his backing band. Working with their father, the three brothers gained a deep appreciation for early rock ‘n’ roll, blues and conjunto music, as they played clubs around Texas and in Nashville during the 1990s.
As the brothers got older, though, Ringo Garza Sr. realized that his sons were destined to be more than his backing band and he encouraged them to go out on their own as Los Lonely Boys.
Success came surprisingly fast for the group. After releasing the self-titled CD five years ago, a single from the album, the cheerful, easy-going pop-soul song “Heaven,” caught on along radio airwaves.
It eventually went No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s adult contemporary chart and also cracked the top 20 on Billboard’s “Hot 100” singles chart. The song’s popularity kept the “Los Lonely Boys” CD on the Billboard album chart for 76 weeks. To top that off, “Heaven” won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
But “Sacred,” while solid, didn’t catch on. Looking back, Jo Jo said the band felt rushed to finish the album.
But there were no time pressures in making “Forgiven,” and Los Lonely Boys sound both energized and relaxed throughout the record, as the group once again delivers a wide-ranging mix of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll, pop and soul, all spiced with a touch of the Garza brothers’ heritage.
The group has been on the road since the summer and has put the focus on showcasing material from “Forgiven,” without forgetting about earlier favorites.
“Now that we have ‘Forgiven’ out, we’re really trying to hit the new songs, of course, because that’s what it’s all about, trying to get the new album promoted.” Jo Jo said. “But at the same time, we now, I guess I should say, have the luxury of having three albums out, so we’ve got a lot of material to pick from.”