The trio of Texas brothers will play the Acoustic Cafe series in Grand Rapids, unfurling music with ‘a unique Latin twist’ and ‘a taste of Texican rock ‘n’ roll,’ says JoJo Garza.
After unleashing full-power performances at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in recent years, Los Lonely Boys will return to Grand Rapids Tuesday, playing to a much smaller, more intimate gathering at St. Cecilia Music Center.
The show is part of the two-year old Acoustic Café Series, a partnership with the syndicated radio show of the same name and host Rob Reinhart. The show, which airs on Friday mornings locally on WYCE, is syndicated to more than 100 commercial and non-commercial stations throughout the country.
Tickets are $35 and $40, available by calling 616-459-2224, visiting the box office at 24 Ransom Ave. NE or visiting www.scmc-online.org. A post-concert “meet-the-artist” reception with a cash bar will be offered to all ticket-holders, giving the audience the opportunity to meet Los Lonely Boys and obtain signed CDs.
For those fortunate enough to get tickets, they can expect to hear a little bit of everything from the Texas trio that burst onto the scene with 2004 hit “Heaven,” a Grammy-winning song (off the band’s debut album recorded by Willie Nelson a year prior) that reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.
The trio, made up of bassist/vocalist Jojo Garza and his brothers Henry (vocals, guitar) and Ringo (drums, vocals), has played together their whole lives, having recorded a total of 15 albums, as well as the 2016 Latin-inspired, multi-lingual tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Born on the Bayou.” (Check out a video below.)
“The Creedence thing was us really just wanting to be involved with something that we were involved with all our lives,” Jojo Garza said.
“Our dad, who also played in a band with his brothers, introduced us to Creedence when we were young, and we grew up playing ‘Born on the Bayou’ and ‘Proud Mary’ and things like that. As we got older, it just stuck around and we were able to put a unique Latin twist on it.”
TEXICAN ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, ACOUSTIC-STYLE
Just because that is the most recent release doesn’t mean Los Lonely Boys fans can expect to see a CCR cover show. According to the bass-wielding Garza, they will witness a few blues-driven covers and an array of Los Lonely Boys cuts from all stages of the band’s career.
“We like to give them what they came for and that’s a taste of Texican rock ‘n’ roll and where it’s bred,” he said.
It’s that sound — which combines elements of rock and roll, Texas blues, brown-eyed soul, country and Tejano —that has captured their fan base from the start as well as the ears of other popular musicians such as Carlos Santana, who invited them into the studio not long after they finished their work with Willie Nelson. Those two encounters with musical heroes helped set the brothers down a path that they never quite saw coming when they first started playing together.
“Music was just always there for us. It was second nature,” Jojo Garza explained.
“We knew we had to do the basic things, eat and drink and play. It was taught that way at home. The idea of becoming super famous wasn’t super well-known to us. We were just trying to eat and learn the best we could. And it just kind of took off. It started turning into a professional deal on its own.”
What they learned the most from Nelson and Santana wasn’t simply the music, it was the reinforcement of what had been ingrained since an early age, Garza added.
“To meet and talk to them was one thing but for them to treat us like family that really took it to a whole different level,” he said.
“It’s not something everybody gets to experience in their lives and for us we have been blessed with it multiple times over, we are truly thankful for that. They both drove home that it’s all about family, it’s all about balance, it’s all about acceptance and when it comes to the music, stay true to it and stay true to whatever matters most in your life.”
That’s exactly what the brothers have done, and keeping that focus on family will likely make the next studio project (no timetable on this yet) an interesting one for a trio that almost lost guitarist Henry due to an on-stage fall a few years back which forced the band off the road for nearly year.
“When we go back into the studio something is going to come out of it that is for sure,” said Jojo Garza said, who called his brother’s lengthy recovery following the 2013 fall into a Los Angeles stage pit a “true blessing.”
“We’ve been exploring different opportunities to present artists in unique settings, so we couldn’t be happier about showcasing artists in this beautiful, newly renovated historic venue,” Reinhart said.
“Grand Rapids was one of the very first markets to broadcast Acoustic Café 20 years ago, and we are pleased to be presenting live music there, while also telling the world about St. Cecilia Music Center.”
VIDEO: Los Lonely Boys, “Heaven” (Acoustic)
VIDEO: Los Lonely Boys, “Born on the Bayou”
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