by Terry Larsen
Proclaimed "the best bar band in the world" by mentor Willie Nelson, Los Lonely Boys burst on to the national scene in 2003 with a multi-platinum studio album. Eight recordings later, LLB has established itself as one of the most popular bands of our day. On an evening in June, the "Texican" rock 'n roll trio performed in the beautifully refurbished Colonial Theater to the enthusiastic reception of an adoring audience
Over its history, rock and roll has developed many sub-genres and iconic performers. Some of these, such as the music of Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, fellow Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the influence of blues masters such as Buddy Guy were immediately evident in the performance. As one might expect of musicians from the heart of Texas, elements of Texas Swing and Tejana were also heard. Henry, Jojo, and Ringo Garza point to the influence of their musician father Enrique (Ringo) Garza as their most important and enduring influence.
LLB played for more than 90 minutes without intermission, one piece often blending into the next. The technical proficiency of each player was thrilling, as was their ability to blend the elements of a wide range of styles into a beautifully unified whole. The singing was first rate - Henry and Jojo sharing the leads, all three providing backup vocals; the timbre of each brother's voice so similar as to be nearly indistinguishable. Jojo, the ebullient bassist and MC, charmed the audience with his patter, physical antics, and his virtuosity on a six stringed electric bass. Henry, quietly charismatic, played shredding licks with ease - a powerful lyricism that was breath-taking. Ringo drove his brothers on by providing a sure, vigorous percussive platform for each song. The dynamic range, degree of nuance, and sophistication in the playing must be heard to be appreciated. LLB may have honed their chops in bars, but the lines they played rival anything played by conservatory-trained musicians. It should be noted that the volume of amplified sound was appropriately loud for rock 'n roll, but not painfully so. Los Lonely Boys rocked our world!