roots/blues/rock I think they call it
not bad for that, but got old fast
even threw some Mexican in and I don't speak Mexican

Grade - 1.3

released Mar 29th, 2011

from the album - Rockpango - 1.5

from all music


Hailing from San Angelo, TX, Los Lonely Boys are a sibling trio whose music draws equally from rock, blues, Tex-Mex, conjunto, and tejano. Such a combination is shaped by the band's three brothers: guitarist Henry Garza, bassist JoJo Garza, and drummer Ringo Garza, Jr. The siblings' father, Ringo Garza, Sr., was a member of another sibling band, the Falcones, who played conjunto music around Texas during the '70s and '80s. After that group broke up, Garza went solo, backed by his three sons even before they reached their teens. The family relocated to Nashville in the 1990s, and gradually the sons emerged as a group separate from their father.

After moving back to Texas, the boys recorded their debut album, 2003's Los Lonely Boys, at Willie Nelson's Pedernales studio in Austin with Nelson sitting in. Epic Records picked the album up for major-label distribution in March 2004, resulting in a high chart placement for the album's lead single, "Heaven," as well as a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance the following year. The Boys released their eagerly awaited sophomore album, Sacred, in 2006, and Forgiven followed in 2008. A holiday album, Christmas Spirit, also appeared in 2008, and the band hit the road for an acoustic tour one year later, punctuated by the release of the covers-only 1969 EP. They released their last recording for Epic, Spirit of Christmas, in 2008.

Though touring nearly constantly, the trio has stayed deeply rooted to community causes. They recorded the single "Solid Ground," about the Family Justice Center of Erie County (which won the Austin-based CTK Foundation's Heart and Soul grant for 2009). The FJC provides services for victims of domestic violence. Written with poet Nancy Ghoston, "Solid Ground" was released in January of 2010.

During touring in the spring of 2010, JoJo Garza developed vocal problems. Physicians discovered lesions on his vocal cords and recommended that he rest them, causing the band to cancel its April and May appearances in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. This also pushed back the release of their debut independent offering, Keep on Giving: Acoustic Live!, their first release on the Lonelytone/Playing in Traffic imprints; the album was eventually issued in the fall of 2010. Los Lonely Boys returned with their first new studio offering of all original material in three years with 2011's Rockpango (a made-up Spanish word that the band translates to English as "rock party").

Album Review

After the all-out celebration of Keep on Giving: Acoustic Live!, Los Lonely Boys are back with their fourth studio offering and their first offering of new studio material in three years. Rockpango (a made-up Spanish word the band translates as "rock party") was produced by Henry, Ringo, and Jojo Garza, and is the first to appear on their LonelyTone imprint through Playing in Traffic. All of the material here was written by the Garzas, who add the Tosca String Quartet and keyboards where necessary to grow out their sound. The songwriting and production here are ambitious; they expand upon their rootsy brand of Texican rock & roll that defines Los Lonely Boys. Love and family are major themes on this album -- the lyrics are above and beyond anything they've done previously -- and the band is simultaneously branching out into new musical territory. The hard guitar-screaming opener "American Idle" and the acoustically based "Fly Away" showcase the sides of the band most listeners are familiar with. Both also reveal some of the trio's growth, however, with the addition of a layer of hand percussion and a funky bassline that traces R&B and norteño. "Love in My Veins" nods to Santana, but with its staccato pulse, grooving B-3, and clavinet, it's far funkier. The track "16 Monkeys," which is one of the more comical jams on the record, is a burner with its nasty clavinet fills against Henry's chunky blues guitar vamp. The title track borrows heavily from Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression" with its guitar and drum phrasing, but with a swelling B-3, it becomes its own animal. While "Smile" is simply a beautiful folk-rock love song, it's countered by the slippery, silvery funk of "Baby Girl" (the Red Hot Chili Peppers wish they were still capable of this). "Porn Star" is the album's only throwaway, but closer "Believe" is one of its highlights. The latter's forceful rocking drive with blazing layered guitars and a throbbing bassline are balanced by in-the-pocket breaks, and balanced by impeccable, three-part vocal harmony to sweeten it just enough. Rockpango is the most satisfying recording that Los Lonely Boys have come up with yet. It confirms the notion that the Garza brothers know exactly what they want and how to get it, with a sound that is inviting, infectious, and inventive.

Track Listing

1 American Idle Garza, Garza, Garza 3:25
2 Fly Away Garza, Garza, Garza 3:35
3 Love in My Veins Garza, Garza, Garza, Valdez 3:42
4 Road to Nowhere Garza, Garza, Garza 4:17
5 16 Monkeys Garza, Garza, Garza, Valdez 3:41
6 Rockpango Garza, Garza, Garza 3:29
7 Smile Garza, Garza, Garza 3:33
8 Baby Girl Garza, Garza, Garza, Valdez 4:05
9 Change the World Garza, Garza, Garza, Valdez 3:48
10 Porn Star Garza, Garza, Garza, Valdez 3:24
11 Believe Garza, Garza, Garza, Valdez 3:17