Category Archives: Reviews

TMA Results Officially Make Me An Old-Schooler

Well, the Tejano Music Awards have come and gone and it looks like the big winner was Elida Reyna of Valley-based group, Elida y Avante. Along with her four TMAs, there were a lot of “new” winners–some have been around a while, while others are names that have been floating around a little less.

Especially if you are an avid listener of Tejano internet radio (and those lucky ones in cities with Tejano radio stations), then you will know most, if not all, of the line-up of winners. But one thing is for sure, other than being an “Elida” fan, since she started her career, as well as The Hometown Boys, I think the results now make me an official old-schooler, since mega stars like Jay Perez (DC-Reviewed) didn’t end up with a TMA.

As easy as it would be, I won’t be a hater. I’ll just congratulate the winners, and maybe start opening my ears a little more. Bottom line, the prove that the Tejano-genre is not dying and that fans do indeed rule.

Here are the TMA winners:

32nd Annual Tejano Music Awards Winners:

Elsa Garcia
Mingo Saldivar
Johnny Canales

Song of the Year – Juntos Hasta Morir – Elida Reyna & Jesse Turner

Male Vocalist of the Year – Jesse Turner (Siggno)

Female Vocalist of the Year – Elida Reyna

Entertainer of the Year – Elida Reyna

Album of the Year – Tejano – Lo Que Me Dejaste – Siggno

Album of the Year – Conjunto – Manteniendo La Promesa – The Hometown Boys

Vocal Duo of the Year – Elida Reyna & Jesse Turner – Juntos Hasta Morir

Best New Male – Ricky Valenz

Best New Female – Jessica Sanchez

Best New Group – Tejano Highway 281

Winning Duo:

Best New Female:  Jessica Sanchez

Best New Male:  Ricky Valenz

Best New Group:  Tejano Highway 281

Tejano Music Awards Tonight in S.A.

Tonight, the Illusions Theatre at the Alamodome will be the place at which to be.  The 32nd Annual Tejano Music Awards returns to the ‘dome to recognize the achievements of musicians in the Tejano music-genre.

And the nominees are…click on the link to find out.

While musicians and bands will be honored for productions created over the last year, the tradition of looking to the past to reach toward the future continues. Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Tejano legends, Johnny Canales, Mingo Saldivar, and Houston’s own, Elsa Garcia.

Along with the awards, it will be a music-filled night. According to the Texas Talent Musicians Association:

The 32nd Annual Tejano Music Awards will begin with a star-studded Red Carpet reception that will play host to hundreds of fans, media and artists to include Grupo Siggno , Ruido Anejo, Ernie Salgado, Jesse Borrego, Elsa Garcia, Johnny Canales to name a few and performers. Some of Tejano music’s greatest bands and artists will be performing between the Awards presentations with many of them up for awards. Those scheduled to perform include:  Emilio Navaira, Ruben Ramos and the Texas Revolution, Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz, Jay Perez, Stefani Montiel, David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, Gary Hobbs, Hometown Boys, Los Hermanos Farias, Michael Salgado, Ricardo Castillon y La Diferenzia, Shelly Lares, Mario Flores, Sunny Sauceda, and Avizo with Chris Q, Jerry Lopez and Al Muniz.  The Awards show will also carry performances by new and upcoming artists such as Ricky Valenz and Juaquin Cura as well as Tracy Perez, Jessica Sanchez and other surprise performances guaranteed to delight event attendees.  This year, the Tejano Music Awards will include a special twist to the event with performances by the all girl rock band, Girl in a Coma and a performance by Erick y Grupo Massore.

The magic begins at the red carpet at 4:30, with the show beginning at 6pm.

DosCentavos will be following some of the Twitter and Facebook action regarding the TMAs, so all you musicos who are on the social media, please keep us posted!

DC Reviews: Los Texmaniacs ~ Texas Towns and Tex-Mex Sounds

First of all, I want to see Los Texmaniacs do the intro and exit music for SA Mayor Julian Castro at the Democratic National Convention.

Secondly, Los Texmaniacs happen to be my favorite conjunto band. Led by the dexterous Bajo Sexto playing of Grammy Winner Max Baca and the acordeon of the legendary David Farias, they provide fans world-wide a variety of music. They can go from conjunto to country and back for some more. Drummer Lorenzo Martinez and Bassist Oscar Garcia provide the group some extra sabor with their intense playing. Martinez does double-duty playing the Guitarron on some of the tunes.

Texas Towns and Tex-Mex Sounds was produced by the good people at Smithsonian Folkways, and serves as Los Texmaniacs’ second compilation of classic hits on that label. And this time around, they push the envelope by adding some really neat classics to this 18-track recording.

The tried and true Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio launches this production, followed by the Lydia Mendoza classic Amor Bonito. But the Maniacs waste no time getting to the special tunes, givinng us a bajo-acordeon instrumental of the Marty Robbins classic, El Paso, combined with San Antonio Rose with Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel providing the vocals.

Much like 2010’s Grammy winning Borders y Bailes, Los Texmaniacs give us timeless instrumentals, such as Santiago Jimenez, Sr.’s Viva Seguin, the Mexican classic Antotonilco, and the vals, Salvador. But another instrumental gift is that of a Texas medley, featuring The Eyes of Texas and Deep in the Heart of Texas. With Farias on the acordeon, Bobby Flores on the fiddle, and Baca’s riffs on the Bajo, these are the tunes I’d like to see at the DNC (hint-hint).

Other canciones-polkas that are timeless include El Buque de Mas Potencia, and Por Una Mujer Casada. Baca penned the newer polkita, Ana Mia, which even has a video. The Texmaniacs also expertly provide us some smooth boleros, including Si Quieres Verme Llorar, Los Barandales del Puente, and Mil Besos (vocals byLorenzo Martinez). But the tune that really hits this heart is the corrido, El Contrabando de El Paso. Baca is also joined on vocals by Jason Roberts of Asleep at the Wheel for an amazing rendition of Waltz Across Texas.

Many record companies have attempted to reignite the conjunto genre by selling the old stuff, and preserving our culture and music should be priority one. But Los Texmaniacs have taken it a step further by giving us these tunes in a soulful manner without the tunes losing their integrity. What makes this production a special one is being secure in the knowledge that Baca and the gang can reproduce this stuff live and to perfection. Check out a show one of these days!

Texas Towns and Tex-Mex Sounds is readily available on the Smithsonian Folksways site for purchase and download. You never get this great a deal for 18 tracks.

Here’s a little something from their recent live CD:

DC Reviews: Ram Herrera ~ En El Amor

Tejano crooner Ram Herrera returns with a new production, En El Amor. A product of AMMX Records, owned by Gary Hobbs, En El Amor highlights Herrera’s unique voice while changing up the musical sound a bit. Still, it is an excellent 10-song production by “The Outlaw.”

Herrera’s career spans decades, having fronted David Lee Garza y Los Musicales before going on to a highly successful solo career. The singer of “Rosas Para Una Rosa” and “Amor Querido,” still has the chops and it comes out in this newest production.

A mix of rancheras, cumbias, and ballads, the production starts off strong with Como Olvidarme de Ti, and ode to the end of a relationship. And from then on, it just gets better. Te Entrego Lo Mejor is another ranchera that will keep you toe-tapping. Que Sepan Todos, with its sax solo, reminds one of Herrera’s early days with Montana Band; while Fallaste Corazon will show Ram-fans that he is has stayed true to his style. Herrera adds an acordeon-heavy tune with El Mas Feliz, which is a great dance floor tune.

Herrera’s voice is great for ballads, and he doesn’t miss with A Donde Vas. The other ballad on the production, though, is the closer, Didn’t Anybody Tell Him, which is somber one about the worst that can happen during drunk-driving.

Herrera and his band are known for some smooth cumbias, and the first one out of the gate is the title track, with some great lyrics. Si Tuviera Tu Amor and Si Te Quedas o Te Vas keep the beat going.

All-in-all, it’s a strong production; although the slight change in sound forced me to give it a few runs on the MP3 player before I fully appreciated it. Perhaps I prefer some harder drumming, but ultimately, Herrera delivers what his fans want–his powerful voice.

Get your copy today!

DC Reviews ~ The Mavericks: Suited Up and Ready..EP

The Mavericks have reunited and are back with the release of an EP, Suited Up and Ready… on Valory Music. Raul Malo, Eddie Perez and the rest of the group are definitely ready for the road with this newest release of five tunes.

The Mavericks’ sound is stronger than ever, especially with the addition of Michael Guerra’s accordion. Some might remember Michael from the recent Raul Malo tours. The rest of the band is still as tight as ever, and anyone who seeks them out on YouTube will find these tunes played live to their perfection. Still, you need to purchase these tunes!

The EP opens up with Back in Your Arms Again, with that country/rockabilly/Latin big band fusion sound that could never be described as country music. It’s a grand combination of musical instruments and vocals that lets us know it will be a good production, and the lyrics are just plain sweet.

The single getting a lot of play is Born To Be Blue, an ode to the girl who makes us feel, well, blue. Eddie Perez serenades us with the required guitar solo and some beautiful riffs that only he can deliver. And the CMT video is located here, so, check it out.

Come Unto me, with its haunting guitar intro/riff and its Latin-flavored rhythm, gets to be my favorite on the EP–at least for this moment of the day. A message that reassures a partner that there may be others out there, but none like the message deliverer. (Been there, right?) A Michael Guerra solo gives this tune some extra sabor!

The EP closes with Amsterdam Moon, a slower, yet Latin-flavored tune; and That’s Not My Name, a slow swing for the guy who feels like a loser in the game of love.

Looking at their tour dates, The Mavericks have not added any Texas dates, which really are needed. Given this production, it seems like the energy is there for some memorable live shows. In a recent interview on River Front Times, Raul Malo gave a great answer as to why the reunion.

Honestly, it’s just a number of things that gathered strength recently. One thing led to another, and before you know it we were all roped in. I honestly never thought this would happen. I thought, if we come back I want it to be right, if we can play the shows we want and make a record with a label that will support us. And then all these things were a reality. I’m excited. We get to do it right, we get to do it our way. That’s the most exciting part.

And we’re excited in Texas, too, Raul. Get over here!

Here’s a sample of one of the tunes:

DC Reviews: Guzman-Fox – Mas Conjuntazzo

Joel Guzman and Sarah Fox are an innovative team with the ability to fuse various genres into their performances. Their productions at times have the same kind of fusion, but Mas Conjuntazzo is a collection of traditional standards brought to life like only a few can do. Whether you want to toe-tap or zapatear with your partner, this is a set of recordings that you will keep on permanent rotation.

Joel Guzman’s acordeon is flawless throughout, but I must say that I’m partial to the polkas rancheras. Leading off with one of my favorite tunes, Al Cortar Una Gardenia, one cannot help but keep singing the line, “que torres tan elevadas como no las tumba el aire, que bonita chaparrita para nuera de mi madre.” It’s a line that gets me in trouble all the time in downtown Houston.

Ingratos Ojos Mios seems to be my favorite of the ten tracks, though. Guzman and Fox’s vocals are spot on, but the slightly up-tempo break with Guzman’s acordeon gives this tune an extra flavor to enjoy. Of course, the timeless Paloma Querida in ranchera-style also hits the heart and is a great way to close this production.

The polka La Chismosa, and a treat put together by Guzman, Melodias Favoritas, will definitely appease the acordeon-lover in all of us. Chismosa with its standard style to keep us dancing; and Melodias with various change-ups–from a polka to chotis to huapango and back to standard polka; the most obvious sound you hear is Guzman’s dexterous acordeon technique, with the bajo sexto giving it that extra punch.

Cancion Mixteca is an old standard that must be performed perfectly, and Guzman-Fox do not disappoint. The high notes, the harmonies, the acordeon, the bajo sexto from Juan Barco…it’s just powerful.

Guzman and Fox complement each other, vocally, throughout. Fox takes on lead vocals on La Avispita, a fun little cumbia with some excellent dance floor rhythms; while Guzman provides us another rhythmic cumbia with La Reyna. Both come together to gives us a couple of awesome rancheras, Llorar Llorar and El Recadito.

Whether it’s on a recording or live, Guzman and Fox give you their best. I don’t mean to overanalyze, but it seems like Guzman puts a lot of thought into each note to ensure a distinct sound is produced, rather than just your rehashed standard. Complemented by some amazing drumming from Chente Barrera and some excellent bass from Mario Hernandez, this production is the complete package. I guess that’s why I appreciate this kind of stuff.

Mas Conjuntazzo is a must-buy for the collection, and you can download or order it here.  Support indie music and indie music stores because that’s what keeps our musica y cultura thriving!

DC Reviews: Johnny Hernandez – Gracias Por Los Exitos

The legendary Johnny Hernandez returns with a new release, Gracias, Por Todos Los Exitos, a compilation of hits, as well as six newly recorded tracks. Hernandez was in town a few weeks ago at Donerakis-Gulf Gate to perform some of those hits and put on a great show.

His newest hit receiving airplay is Gracias–the title track. Produced by Grammy winner Gilbert Velasquez and backed up by some of the best session players in the genre, the new ranchera flows like Johnny’s tunes usually do–smooth and driven by a great horn section. Johnny hasn’t lost his vocal touch, either.

Track #2 is a Johnny Hernandez classic from when he was performing with “Third Coast,” Canta Canta. I was thinking of dusting off the cassette, but this re-done version suits me just fine. Johnny adds a couple of classic ballads to the mix, Por Un Amor and El Rebelde, which have been performed by so many others, but Johnny delivers them with the same emotion and ganas as when he performed them during his La Familia days.

One of my favorites is a classy bolero, Mil Besos. With its strong lyrics, such as, “Y si es pecado amarte, yo seguire pecando, ¿por que lo he de negar?” one can’t help but feel the love.  Finally, an old hit, Ramona, closes up the re-done and new tunes, with a strong brass section.

Johnny was careful to pick some of his greatest hits to fill in the rest of the CD, including Diganle, El Rancho Grande, Al Pie De Este Arbol, and a couple of personal favorites, Caracoles and No Me Hagas Menos.

Watching Johnny reproduce the vocals live the other day tells me he’s still got it.  And Gracias, Por Los Exitos is definitely a celebration of Johnny’s career and music.

Get yourself a copy!

On a side note, it was great finally meeting one of my heroes de la onda Chicana. A fan ever since my Pop would listen to “Las Nubes” back in the day, and continuing on through his solo career, I had missed a couple of opportunities to meet him, but have been especially honored to have a few great chats with him on Facebook–especially about La Politica y La Raza.

Let’s hope he gets back to Houston, and soon!

Billboard to Honor Intocable

This is quite the honor for the boys from Zapata, TX. I’ve been following them since 1995, so, I guess I’ve been a fan for 17 years! Congrats to Ricky Muñoz, Rene Martinez and the rest of the guys on a stellar career.

Intocable has recently taken on issues like comprehensive immigration reform having recorded “Mojado” with Ricardo Arjona, and they were part of production which honored the late Cesar E. Chavez.

Los Angeles, CA (April 12, 2012)- The iconic group INTOCABLE will be honored with the prestigious Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award during the celebration of Billboard Latin Music Awards 2012.

Billboard and Telemundo will pay tribute to INTOCABLE in recognition to their musical contributions during an outstanding 17-year career that has broken cultural barriers and re-defined the Norteño genre.

INTOCABLE will also perform during the Billboard Awards show and the group and their record label Good I Music celebrate being nominated in the categories Duo o Group of the Year Regional Mexican-Album and Record Label of the Year “Regional Mexican Albums” respectively.

These achievements are added to an extraordinary career that in 2011 took an unexpected turn when the group decided to leave behind the record company to which they belonged and risked opening their own. Despite industry criticism, INTOCABLE proved to have made a wise decision launching as their first material INTOCABLE 2011, an album that in a short span of time has become a musical classic, launching 4 highly successful singles. “Robarte un Beso” and “Prometí” achieved #1 in radio, “Arrepientete” placed in the Top 10 and their most recent hit “Llueve” is quickly following the same radio path.

Their 15 albums and various compilations have sold millions of units worldwide. The group has positioned 19 albums in the Billboard Regional Mexican Albums Charts, 11 of which have achieved the #1 spot and 15 of the 44 songs that have entered the charts have reached the #1 position of Billboard Regional Mexican Music Charts. INTOCABLE also made history in 2011, by being the first of their genre to appear at the famed Dallas Cowboys Stadium during the halftime of Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins and last month became the first of their genre to perform at the Arena Mexico.

The Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded during the Billboard Awards which will be held at the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami in Florida this coming Thursday April 26th at 7pm and will be broadcast live on Telemundo.

For more information, visit:

DC Reviews~ Joe Posada: Algo Esta Pasando

Joe Posada, the Tejano saxmaster, returns with a new release, Algo Esta Pasando. Packed with what some might call mainstream Tejano, I would venture to say that it’s a lot more than just your regular Tejano sound.

Backed up by some premier studio musicians and produced by Grammy winner Gilbert Velasquez, this production has a jazzy edge to it–and not just because of Posada’s sax artistry. The arrangements, the harmonies, and the instruments meld together to form some smooth tunes that will keep one singing those lyrics at any given time.

The production kicks off with Mi Ultimo Aliento and Mi Corazon y Tus Mentiras, two sax-driven rancheras that set the mood for the rest of the CD. The sax solos and the chord progressions show Posada’s ability to keep things interesting. La Vida Me Da Sorpresas melds sax, keys, and acordeon into a tune that will make you get your zapateada on.

Posada doesn’t disappoint on the cumbia side, though, taking the fun and funny approach with Las Ganas. Example:  “Las canas no me quitan las ganas de querer adorarte y hacer el amor…saca la Viagra, no seas tan agria, saca el Cialis, sabes que tu quieres…” Of course, I know nothing about that stuff, but apparently some men do. (Rolling eyes.)

Me Equivoque Contigo is another standard Posada Ranchera fueled by his sax and voice. Although Posada composed all of the songs, this one has more of a barrio feel to it, with the line, “Me equivoque contigo, me equivoque a lo macho, lo que fue mas gacho fue tu traizion.” Yeah, it’s really gacho when that happens.

Another tune with some barrio slang to it is Ya Estufas. I hadn’t heard the term “estufas” since middle school; basically, slang for “Ya estuvo,” or it’s over and done with. But the song is more than just those words, it really is a good “tell-off”  song to a love gone bad. Como el Sol has the same kind of theme as “Tu me quemaste como el sol de mediodia,” makes her sound like a bad, bad person, but he’s still willing to keep her. (Why do we do that?)

Posada adds a couple of jazzy breaks with Ansias de Amor and Recuerdos. If you need some relaxation, these are the instrumentals to which to give a listen. Ansias de Amor features Edith Rivera on background vocals.

Finally, the one “different” song is a Chicano funk tune, Algo Esta Pasando (Sin Mi), in which Posada is backed by San Anto’s Westside Horns–a team of accomplished horn players who can play just about anything. Along with Joel Guzman’s acordeon, this funky tune is perfect when cruizin’ the streets–hydraulics, optional.

Most of Posada’s productions are all about him–his voice and his sax (and there’s nothing wrong with that!). This time around, one cannot help but notice Frankie Caballero’s acordeon and Gilbert Velasquez’s signature guitar-playing. The session players provide a great foundation to a great production. What matters most to me about such a good studio production is how well it can be reproduced live, and Posada has never disappointed in that regard. I sure hope he makes it to Houston, and soon.

There are plenty of online and brick-n-mortar stores to purchase the CD from, and you can also go to if you want to forget the middle man. Bottom line:  You must get it!

Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair in SA is Coming Up!

While SXSW will be going strong in Austin, Tejano Music has a festival of its own coming up in the Tejano Music Capital of Texas–San Antonio. March 16 thru 18, Market Square will be filled with Tejano bands, Tejano music lovers, and a lot of fun–the Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair.

This year’s lineup includes more than 130 bands on multiple stages and full performance schedules that run from noon to night.  An estimated 85,000 fans will travel from Texas and beyond for the Fan Fair experience that includes autograph sessions and access to the artists. Like the fans, many performers hail from around the country, too, including Arizona, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Colorado and Illinois. In addition to music, the family-friendly Fan Fair offers an array of food and beverage booths and the historic Market Square’s shops and restaurants.

A few years ago, I was making a presentation to a group of students in downtown San Antonio and fell upon the Fan Fair (after the speech, of course) and had a blast. Nonstop entertainment!

And it looks like the entertainment is something special:

TMA Fan Fair performers represent the present and future of Tejano music and here are some acts to catch:

·         Familiar favorites: Raulito Navaira, Michael Salgado, Shelly Lares, Stefani Montiel, Patsy Torres, Gary Hobbs, Hometown Boys, Grupo Siggno and Los Texmaniacs, David Olivarez, Grupo Rodeo, Avizzo,  Jimmy Gonzalez y Super Grupo Mazz, Grupo Carlos y Los Cachorros, Los Garcia Brothers, Da Krazy Pimpz
·         Promising Newcomers: Vocalists Ricky Valenz of Michigan and Audi y Zentimiento of Colorado,   Jessica Baeza of Cailfornia, Kristi Lee of  Washington , LariZa from San Antonio
·         Soloists with New Sounds:  Marqell, former lead vocalist for David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, and Cacy Savala, who sang with Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz, embark as solo acts
·       The Next Generation: While they’re young, these performers have years of experience and include Veronica y Avance, Juaquin Cura, K1, Tania Marie, Marisa and Jenne Celine Madrid, Ilyssa Saenz, Monica Castro, Las Fenix, DVA Kidz, Natajja, AT Boyz, La Fuerza
I also hear my Facebook camarada, the legendary Johnny Hernandez will be there, but he will also be here in Houston on the 16th at Doneraki’s performing with L-Jazz. I’m hoping to get an interview out of him, too.
All of this is a celebration and precursor to the Tejano Music Awards which will be held in San Antonio later this fall. So, put this big weekend on your calendars. It’s going to be huge!