Don’t Count Out Mainstream Rock
Los Lonely Boys
Epic Records (www.epicrecords.com)
Forgiven, the latest CD from Los Lonely Boys, relies on a straightforward formula: mainstream rock with a Tejano twist. In today’s pop marketplace, with its profusion of styles and recent emphasis on “indie” aesthetics, MOR rock records are becoming something of a rarity. Elder statesman such as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana are still able to mount chart-topping recordings, based more on the reputation of their past work than on recent music-making. But the Garza brothers are able to find new vitality in a genre that might otherwise seem to be on its last legs. Their work emphasizes emotive and excellent part-singing and liberal doses of guitar solos by Henry Garza, a fine electric player whose style is reminiscent of the aforementioned Clapton and Santana, with liberal doses of Jeff Beck and bluesman Robert Cray as well. A stirring rendition of Steve Winwood’s “I’m a Man,” with zesty bongos from guest percussionist Steve Jordan, underscores Los Lonely Boys’ approach on Forgiven: celebrating their predecessors while pointing to a way forward for those who like their rock ‘n roll in a traditional vein.