Check out LLB on CBS Early Show Saturday Edition on August 16, 2008.
Check out the all new Video Section of the new Los Lonely Boys Official Site. Fans can now see a never before seen “Narrative” of the More Than Love video directed by Rosalyn Rosen.
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By Fred Adams / photos by James Minchin III, on 28-07-2008 07:56
Since achieving a massive breakthrough three years ago with their chart topping single “Heaven,” Los Lonely Boys – the Texican trio comprised of brothers Henry, Jo Jo and Ringo Garza – have achieved multi-platinum album sales, a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group in 2005, and widespread acclaim from critics and fans alike.
Now, the brothers Garza return with Forgiven, a passionate CD that finds each member of the trio reaching new levels in their playing and singing. With a feeling of true brotherly love throughout, Forgiven is in every bit an instant rock ‘n’ roll classic.
Forgiven is the culmination of what Los Lonely Boys has been building towards for the past decade, the fulfillment of the belief and support of not just millions of fans, but also such notable artists as Willie Nelson (who appeared on the band’s major label debut), Carlos Santana (with whom they toured, as well as writing and playing on “I Don’t Want to Lose Your Love” from his 2005 album All That I Am) and Los Lobos (with whom they’ll team for the 2008 edition of the Los Lonely Boys’ Brotherhood Tour). From the bluesy groove of the opening song “Heart Won’t Tell a Lie,” to the yearning plea of the title track, to the heartfelt faith of “Love Don’t Care About Me,” Forgiven impresses from beginning to end. Throw in a rollicking version of the Steve Winwood/Spencer Davis Group hit “I’m a Man,” and Los Lonely Boys have captured the essence of their band on a disc that is sure to garner widespread appeal.
The band is quick to credit producer Steve Jordan, who suggested the band perform live in the studio, an approach they had not previously tried.
“It was good having him with there,” Jo Jo says. “Steve is smart, and has a good heart and good ideas. He had ways to keep the flow going, capture the mood. It sounded better and was easier to create with this format. He’d be there with us, standing there and jamming with this percussion thing he made, like a microphone shaker thing. When we got together with him he was one of the guys. His last name when he was with us wasn’t Jordan, he was Steve Garza!”
To Jordan, who in addition to being an in-demand producer is an elite drummer that has toured with Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan to name just a few, the live-in-studio approach seemed natural. Jordan says, “Obviously from ‘Heaven’ we knew what great songwriters they are and what kind of sound the group has. They sing wonderfully together, three brothers with this chemistry. I went to see them live at the Fillmore last year and it was a great show. They play all-out live. So I thought the best way to capture them, where I would be satisfied and to instill some fun in the process was to capture that live energy and the groove of them playing.”
Asked to name their favorite track, each brother has different answer. Henry says, “They were all so magical, but for me the one that is the foundation is the name of the album, ‘Forgiven.’ When we played that song, for me in my heart and I hope my brothers too, I got that vibe that we knew what this was all about again, what we’re all about. It’s an actual prayer that’s turned into a song, purposefully made that way. For me it was just that whole experience. Felt like a cleansing.”
Ringo makes his debut as featured vocalist on “Superman,” a song he penned for his wife. “I wanted to write for my wife,” he explains. “Henry suggested the Superman theme, and I took if from there. I’ve never sang lead vocals before. I enjoy singing with my brothers. They would always ask me if I wanted to sing lead, but I just wasn’t ready. Third album, I guess.”
Interestingly, Jo Jo’s favorite track, “There Is A War Tonight,” was reserved as a bonus track, for copies of the disc purchased from Wal-Mart. “The song is about the obvious war,” he says, “but also the war every night in our homes and our neighborhoods. There is bloodshed and broken hearts every day. We’ve put it at the front of the show, and are really enjoying playing it.”
Before embarking on the Brotherhood tour, Los Lonely Boys took time from their busy schedule to perform a handful of intimate shows in their hometown of Austin, raising money for Music for Literacy, and offering guitars and lessons to ten children from Big Brothers Big Sisters and ten from the Sunshine Camp of Austin. Beyond funds and awareness being raised, Los Lonely Boys lend a hand whenever they can. They like to give back the joy they have received, and also appeared on last year’s John Lennon Tribute disc to benefit Darfur.
“There is no end to giving back,” says Jo Jo. “It’s our way to give thanks to our fans who believe in us and our music, and it’s important to us. There is no reason to hide real human ups and downs, to having hearts and feelings. There is no pedestal. People gave us this. They believe in God, in Jesus and most of all, good will. If I am walking down the street and see someone in need, there is no way I won’t stop and try to help them. That’s the way we are.”
Though the approach they took in recording Forgiven was new, the songs remain the same unique blend of conjuto, Tex-Mex, blues rock, and pop that made the band famous. Los Lonely Boys sound proud of how far they’ve come, and of their latest release.
“We came from a town with nothing,” Ringo says. “Came from nothing but love and brotherhood – Familia. That’s what drove us. We want to let everybody know that we’ve worked the hardest, really trying to please each other and the fans. We thank the good Lord that we’re able to.
“Of all the success we’ve had, it’s still amazing to hear fans sing the words to the songs we’ve written with our hearts. We write them and think nobody will probably like them,” he says. “But (then) we play them and people sing them back to us! It’s amazing and we appreciate it so much. If I could give a hug to every crowd member, it wouldn’t be enough.”
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.
Posted by John Sinkevics | The Grand Rapids Press August 03, 2008 05:16AM
GRAND RAPIDS — As JoJo Garza puts it, the tour pairing two of the country’s most respected Mexican-American rock bands — Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys — is “really a dream come true.”
After all, Garza and his brothers in Los Lonely Boys have idolized Los Lobos since they first heard the band’s rendition of the popular song “La Bamba” in the 1987 movie about singer Ritchie Valens.
“They’re living legends to us,” said Garza, bassist and singer for the Texas trio. “We couldn’t be more ecstatic about it. It’s a real honor to share the stage with them. … They did pave the way for a lot of Latin-American artists who sing rock ‘n’ roll and do traditional stuff, too.”
“Everything we hoped would happen has happened,” said Los Lobos saxophone player and multi-instrumentalist Steve Berlin. “We’ve been jamming together every night. I couldn’t have scripted it any better.”
Los Lonely Boys and Los Lobos
On Thursday, both bands descend on Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for one of the most eagerly awaited double bills of the summer concert series. It’s the third time Los Lobos has played the Gardens; it’s Los Lonely Boys’ first appearance in the amphitheater.
Expect the unexpected, Garza and Berlin said in separate telephone interviews during a short break from the tour.
While both bands usually mix in well-known songs from their respective catalogs — ranging from traditional Mexican songs to Tex-Mex tunes to blues-rockers — they also change set lists on the fly, depending on their mood and that of the audience. And they certainly will jam together at some point.
“The cool thing is it’s not been rote. It’s been however it feels best to the participants at the time,” Berlin said of Los Lobos, which also features David Hidalgo, Louie Perez, Conrad Lozano and Cesar Rosas.
“It changes up every night,” said Garza, who formed Los Lonely Boys with his brothers Henry (guitar) and Ringo (drums) after performing for years with their father, Enrique.
“You should always be fluid. It’s good to be fluid, it’s the best way to be. You can feel it when (fans) want to rock, when they want to slow-jam with their old lady or their husband. You can feel that. Sometimes sticking to the way it’s written isn’t always the way it should be done.”
Neither band has followed the usual formula for “the way it should be done,” yet both continue to rack up musical milestones.
Formed in the 1970s in East Los Angeles, Los Lobos has won three Grammy Awards while being widely regarded as one of the most influential Mexican-American bands of the past three decades.
The band just finished recording a children’s album with its interpretations of classic Disney tunes; the CD will be released in November.
“It’s a pretty cool record,” said Berlin, noting it should appeal to parents as well as kids.
Los Lonely Boys, formed eight years ago, also has a Grammy Award under its belt, winning the award for best pop performance in 2004 for the song “Heaven,” still a mainstay of its live shows.
The trio released its third studio album, “Forgiven,” in July and is the subject of a new PBS documentary set to air Sept. 17.
The film, “Los Lonely Boys Cottonfields and Crossroads,” tells the history and rise of the band of brothers from San Angelo, Texas.
“We’re not really old cats,” said the 28-year-old Garza, “but there’s a lot of mileage on what we’ve done and where we’ve been. It’s a way for people to see what Los Lonely Boys is about and where we’re from.”
Part of the film centers on the band’s development under the tutelage of their father, a conjunto and country musician whose sons joined his gigs in the 1990s in Texas roadhouses and cantinas.
“He (Enrique) loves it,” Garza said. “He couldn’t be more proud. He’s always telling us how proud he is of us.”
The Garza brothers burst with pride knowing they’re touring the land with their idols in Los Lobos.
“We (stand) sidestage pretty much every show they play, because we’re still in awe that these guys are out here with us and we’re out with them,” Garza said.
That the veteran group has helped mentor the young trio is gratifying to Los Lobos’ Berlin.
“It’s quite an honor if somebody feels that way about our stuff,” he said. “It’s nice to see them doing so well. They’ve learned really well.”
By Julie DeHerrera
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 08/01/2008 11:17:04 AM MDT
The audience at Red Butte Garden got a taste of Latin, blues, cumbia, rockabilly, Tejano, and rock ‘n’ roll music on Wednesday night courtesy of Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys in what was dubbed The Brotherhood Tour. It could very well have been called the La Familia or The Los Amigos Tour.
Hailing from East L.A., Los Lobos formed in 1973, remaining intact and in fine form more than three decades later.
Conrad Lozano, Louie Pérez, Cesar Rosas, Steve Berlin and David Hidalgo pen and sing songs that honor their Mexican lineage.The blending of accordion with guitars and the occasional saxophone create the sound the group is noted for, such as “Chuko’s Cumbia,” which had audience members on their feet and swaying. The polka-flavored “Let’s Say Goodnight” featured Hidalgo’s truly amazing voice, later showcased on the rockabilly “Don’t Worry Baby.” Not to be outdone, Cesar Rosas also contributed to vocals throughout the evening. Since Los Lobos entered mainstream America’s consciousness in 1987 via “La Bamba,” the bio-pic about singer Ritchie Valens, the crowd expected to hear that hit and the band didn’t disappoint. Other hits, including “Come On, Let’s Go,” and covers of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” and Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” were concert highlights.
Concert-goers appreciated a beautiful Spanish song dedicated to the late Ramon Cardenas Jr. of Salt Lake City’s Red Iguana Mexican restaurant, a place the band frequents whenever they are in town. And Los Lonely Boys wailing guitarist Henry Garza joined his mentors on stage for the set-ender, “Mas Y Mas.”
But from reading the tank tops of women fans in the crowd, it was the younger band, Los Lonely Boys, who were the night’s draw.
The Texas sibling trio of Henry, Jojo and Ringo Garza opened a 10-song set with the bluesy “Heart Won’t Tell A Lie” from their latest disc, “Forgiven,” and the title track showed off harmonies that sounded more spontaneous than arranged.
Henry Garza channeled lengendary guitarists Valens, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Carlos Santana as he furiously pounded and plucked guitar strings. He cast a formidable figure in sunglasses, with his long black hair flowing in the slight breeze, an embodiment of Texican rock ‘n roll. Their songs mixed rock and blues, combined with the flavors of conjunto music on “Hollywood” and “Heaven,” the band’s first Billboard hit and the most-anticipated song of the night.”
The band paid tribute to Bo Diddley, who died in June, by playing “Who Do You Love?” with Dave Hidalgo joining the brothers on stage, with Berlin’s saxophone jams adding to “I Am The Man To Beat.”
A perfect end to the 90-minute set was “Suppertime,” a hilarious ode to food with dueling kazoos by Ringo and Henry, while JoJo took on singing duties.
— Julie DeHerrera can be reached at [email protected].
La música del trío tejano no tiene más pretensiones que la de llevar rock ‘texicano’ al público
Como el título de su tercer disco —Forgiven— lo indica, a Los Lonely Boys se les perdona todo.
Se les perdona que desde Los Lonely Boys (el aclamado debut multiplatino de 2003) el trío no haya cambiado ni alterado en lo más mínimo la fórmula de blues-rock y funk con aires tejanos y armonías beatlescas.
Se les perdona que su imagen y poesía carezcan de sorpresa: en las fotos de prensa aparecen simplemente posando en paisajes tejanos, y sus letras empiezan y terminan con el amor chico-chica (algo que Chuck Berry ya había hecho —y mejor— a fines de los 50) y se les perdona que, cuando hablan, parecen (a menos que uno los ponga contra la pared) más preocupados en repetir el verso hecho para la prensa que en decir realmente lo que piensan.
Y se los perdona por una sencilla razón: el trío de los hermanos Henry, Jojo y Ringo Garza, de San Angelo, Texas, jamás tendrá la influencia poética y musical de los Beatles pero, en vivo, son una aplanadora.
“Estos son Los Lonely Boys”, dijo a Rumbo Jojo Garza, bajista y una de las tres voces de LLB, minutos después de tocar en el Willie Nelson’s Family Picnic en San Antonio, evento que se efectúa cada año por estas fechas. “No tratamos de convertirnos en algo que no somos ni en ser una cosa demasiado espectacular. Dios nos regaló un don y hacemos lo que hacemos, que es llevar rocanrol ‘texicano’ a la mesa”.
Lo de que no son espectaculares es relativo. Hay pocos guitarristas tan virtuosos como Henry Garza, y aún menos bandas pueden jactarse de tener mejores armonías vocales y una máquina mejor aceitada que LLB, quienes han tocado juntos toda la vida. Pero el éxito crítico y comercial del primer disco (que en 2004 les valiera un Grammy como Mejor Interpretación Pop de un Dúo o Grupo con Voces, por el ya clásico Heaven) disminuyó con el irregular Sacred (2006) e hizo que el tercer disco pusiera bajo la lupa el futuro musical de los hermanos. A Jojo no podría importarle menos.
“Somos lo que somos”, dijo Jojo, cuya banda actúa mañana en el Greek Theatre junto con Los Lobos. “Esta es nuestra música. A algunos les gustará y a otros no, pero no nos va a cambiar en nada. No tenemos ninguna presión y no creo que el segundo disco haya sido un fracaso, de ninguna manera. Vendió lo que vendió y sigue vendiendo, y ojalá que con el nuevo disco los discos anteriores vendan aún más. No vamos a cambiar nuestro sentir y nuestra música por alguien que diga: ‘Oh, eso no es bueno para la radio’, o lo que sea”.
Si lo de las ventas —o la falta de ellas— de Sacred no eran suficientes, en 2005 Ringo fue arrestado y acusado de poseer marihuana y de agresión sexual a dos mujeres que habían ido de copas con él y su esposa. Los cargos por posesión de drogas fueron retirados y la policía, al final, decidió no presentar los cargos restantes; pero el nombre del disco pasa por otro lado.
“Si crees que vas a ser perdonado, serás perdonado, porque el Señor perdona”, dijo Jojo. “Con respecto a la otra situación a la que te refieres, no tiene nada que ver con el título del álbum, sino con
cualquier individuo que quiere ser perdonado por algo”.
UN TRÍO CONSERVADORAlguien dijo, con razón, que incluso una canción romántica convencional que carezca por completo de contenido social o político tiene connotaciones ideológicas. Aunque jamás levantaron las banderas de, por ejemplo, su amigo e ídolo Willie Nelson —el liberal más amado de Texas—, es difícil encasillar a Los Lonely Boys dentro del espectro político.
Por un lado, su falta de pronunciamiento sobre temas candentes y lugar de residencia parecen indicar que LLB es un trío conservador.
Por el otro, su apariencia rockera —siempre de negro, con chamarras Harley-Davidson y tatuajes de “Texican Power”— y su reputación de ávidos consumidores de marihuana y amigos de Willie Nelson (“No, nunca fumé con él”, dice Jojo) les da un perfil liberal. Pero, por alguna razón, es difícil imaginarlos frente a una urna votando por Obama… o por nadie.
“Si quieres votar, votas, y si no quieres votar, no votas”, dijo Jojo. “No hablamos mucho de política porque…”, Jojo no encuentra las palabras. “Este es el mundo en el que vivimos y lo que hacemos es una declaración política en sí misma”.
Pero… ¿van a votar?
“¿Si yo voy a votar?”, pregunta Jojo. “No, no planeo votar”.
“Porque, simplemente, no planeo votar”, dice con una sonrisa.
¿Y tus hermanos?
“No es algo que crecimos haciendo”, dice, y se le recuerda que nadie creció votando. Además, ¿para qué vivir en democracia si uno cree que el voto no sirve para nada? “Sí, [el voto] puede hacer un cambio, pero… No, no voy a votar. Y no puedo decirte que mis hermanos sí lo vayan a hacer”.
“OK, déjame adivinar”, le dice el reportero, y Jojo sonríe y se cruza de brazos. “No va a votar porque le parece que las cosas están bien como están y no le interesa que cambien y, si cambian, tampoco le interesa que cambien para un lado u otro. Típica postura Lonely Boys: dejar que las guitarras hablen pero cuidado con jugársela por algo más que puro rocanrol, baby. ¿Correcto?”.
“No, no es eso”, dice Jojo. “Si crees en lo que vas a votar, vota. Si no, no deberían forzarte a elegir un líder si no lo hay. Para Los Lonely Boys hay solamente un líder: el Señor Jesucristo. Y por medio de él te vas al cielo”.
De más está decir que Jesús no votaría, ¿no?
“No creo que Jesús votaría, brother…”, dice Jojo, quien estalla en una carcajada y contraataca. “Y tú, vas a votar?”. Se le responde que sí, si llega la ciudadanía a tiempo. “Buena suerte”, dice.
En eso pasa Ringo, el baterista, y se le pregunta si va a votar.
Algo es algo.