Los Lonely brothers grateful for musical gifts
After selling millions of records and winning a Grammy Award, Los Lonely Boys could have moved to Nashville, Los Angeles, New York or any other musical mecca to enhance their career.
But the trio of brothers -- Henry, Jo Jo and Ringo Garza -- still make their home in San Angelo, a mid-sized Texas city in the middle of the Longhorn state.
"This is our roots," says Jo Jo Garza in advance of the band's appearance Tuesday at the Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse in Burgettstown. "We are who we are because of this place. And to be honest with you, San Angelo is a really nice place to raise a family. It's not too big, not too small, and it's always been pretty good to us."
The Garza brothers, in turn, have been pretty good to their fans. The trio's new release -- "Keep on Giving: Acoustic Brotherhood Live!" -- features a mix of originals and covers. The title is instructive. Talking to Jo Jo Garza for even a few minutes indicates he isn't a typical musician.
For starters, he doesn't think his talent gives him special standing.
"God has blessed us all with gifts," he says. "Not all of us are on stage, not all of are building or designing skyscrapers. Not all of us are working in skyscrapers. We're all here for a reason, brother, and for us to be able to have the gift of music, to be taught that all things in our lives are a gift, is a beautiful thing. As we've gotten older, we see that through the shows we've played and the people we've met."
Jo Jo Garza has particular reason to be grateful. Earlier this year, lesions were found on his vocal chords, forcing the cancellation of a tour and setting back the release of an album of new material. He says he's now fully recovered, and the band is committed to finishing the record.
In the interim, "Keep on Giving," recorded in Colorado earlier this year, showcases a rawer, more intimate Los Lonely Boys sound that's stripped down to the basics.
"It's definitely a little more personal, musically," Garza says. "That's the way we write most of our songs. When we share that side of the music with people, it's kind of special."
"Keep on Giving" also illustrates the band's diversity. If Los Lonely Boys chose, they could be a dynamite cover band, if their versions of the Beatles' "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," Santana's "Evil Ways" and "Beast of Burden" are any indication.
The latter especially is surprising because it was the first time Jo Jo Garza played the Rolling Stones song.
"My approach when you play somebody else's song, if you can't at least do it like they did it, don't do it," he says. "If you can, you should be able to make it your own at that point. We're not playing any of these songs to make them better, because they are already as good as it gets. It's really an honor for us to put our fingerprints on it and say 'Hey, we really dig this song.' "
Garza says his health scare made him take stock of his life. He admits, "I am just 30, but there are a lot of miles on this 30."
Whatever happens in the future, he's acknowledges his present good fortune.
"I wouldn't change it for the world," he says, "because I wouldn't be who I am today. I'm very thankful to the Good Lord that we are still kicking and moving in the right direction. Or at least trying to."Additional Information:
Los Lonely Boys
Los Lonely Boys, with the Adrian Niles Band
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse, Burgettstown
Details: 724-947-1900, pepsiroadhouse.com .