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Texas blues-rock

By Los Lonely Boys

Epic Records: 2008

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This review first appeared in Turbula in September 2008.

Because the Garza brothers, the trio of Henry, Jo Jo and Ringo Jr., are Latino, their band is often compared to the veteran Southern California combo Los Lobos. Fellow rockers, yes, but where Los Lobos' music is based on the roots revival of the early '80s, Los Lonely Boys come from the tradition of Texas electric blues. If Los Lobos' music is descended from that of Ritchie Valens, Los Lonely Boys come out of the heritage of Johnny and Edgar Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert Collins.

Their fifth album (third studio), shows a breadth of vision that takes in Vaughan's and Collins' hard-edged blues along with the broader pop vision of Edgar Winter. While the album opens with a flag-waver of a Texas blues anthem ("Heart Won't Tell a Lie"), a few tracks later on "Loving You Always" they introduce a touch of Spanish folk before breaking back into the wah-wah pedals and driving blues of Steve Winwood's classic "I'm a Man."

And so it goes for all 12 songs: alternating between mainstream rock and hardcore blues. It's a versatility that gives the album a nice meter all its own.