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Los Lonely Boys

Deep in the heart of Texas

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By Lynne Margolis  
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It's been said many times, about many different bands: "You gotta see 'em live."

Texas' Los Lonely Boys are a prime example. The Garza brothers' onstage chemistry most faithfully conveys the band's tight-knit sound and the bluesy blend they call "Texican" music. With their second album, Live at the Fillmore, Los Lonely Boys give music fans the next best thing to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other blues lovers in front of a live stage.

Audiences are flocking to Los Lonely Boys performances because these Grammy winners and brothers -- guitarist Henry, bassist JoJo and drummer Ringo Garza -- are in some ways filling the void left by the untimely deaths of Stevie Ray Vaughan and even Jimi Hendrix. In fact, Henry boldly opens the album with a Hendrix riff, and later pulls off a few more licks distinctly reminiscent of Stevie Ray.
His lengthy instrumental, "Onda," is an homage to another guitar great who's also become a fan of the band, Carlos Santana.

The Boys freely admit to worshiping these influences and others, including early rock sensation Ritchie Valens. But even though "Onda" stretches from its original nine-minute version on this recorded version, the song doesn't fall into mimickry. That's a clear testament to this band's soulful talent and its ability to find its own approach. Even the band's covers -- Valens' "La Bamba" and War's "Cisco Kid" -- are stamped with Henry's distinctive musical style. Even their signature song, "Heaven," here sounds every bit as fresh as it did when the group first performed it.

"Man to Beat" deftly showcases Henry's accomplished harp playing, along with Reese Wynans' keyboards. Wynans, the former member of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble band, gives the album a generational continuity of sorts, which seems all but fitting in this bluesy setting.

Veteran journalist Lynn Margolis writes about music from Austin, Texas. Her articles have appeared widely in such publications as The Austin American-Statesman, Texas Music, RollingStone.com, and the RIAA's Grammy magazine.