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 2003 release of their self-titled debut CD, which went platinum, they've become the latest sensation from the Lone Star State.
The result of the trio's years of gigging is an airtight, polyrhythmic sound and sweet harmonies, which provide a firm foundation and lovely bunting for all the impressive six-stringing. At times the guitar work recalls both Vaughans, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, even George Harrison. And whatever the band may (as yet) lack in originality and distinctiveness, the canny phrasing and liquid proficiency more than make up for it. When the group lands back on the melody after a soaring riff, the chunky and sometimes funky chording steers its 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 the flu, with hooky choruses baited with the genetic interweave of the Boys' vocals. Sure, there's nothing new under the 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 have put Spanglish blues-rock on the nation's musical map.
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