Tag Archives: los texmaniacs

Tacho’s Sabado Playlist

It’s the weekend after the Democratic Primary election, so, of course, you need new material on your playlist for those weekend cookouts.

Ricardo Castillon y La Diferenzia – Para Que – From the metropolis of La Pryor, TX, Ricardo Castillon drops this new tune after quite a few years without new material. He’s my FB friend, so, I know he’s been looking for opportunities to produce new material with some of the best out there. Castillon still has that unique voice which he is not afraid to punch up at just the right time on a song–and he does it on this one. FYI – Known for his ability to switch genres at the drop of a hat, he also does this tune in a mariachi format. I’m looking forward to more from Castillon.

David Lee Garza y Los Musicales – Brindo y Me Rio – DLG finally released his latest album after riding on a couple of singles for a year or so. Fronted by Cezar Martinez, they offer up a bold production, including this tune. With an old school Tejano organ base combined with the traditional DLG sound, this one keeps one on their toes. I don’t know if this is the latest single, but I found it on the tube. One thing is for sure, this album is available at the DLG website and store. I’m not allowed to post it on here, but you can listen to it here.

Irma Aguilar f/ Los Texmaniacs – Arrepentido – This one came across the radar this week and I liked it. Check it out.

Chavela Chapa – Homenaje a Ruben Ramos – It’s about time someone wrote an homage to El Gato Negro Ruben Ramos. The Grammy winner, a Sugar Land original, is still kickin’ ass. A few years ago, he went through some health issues, but came roaring back. I like this tune.

Tacho’s Playlist

Time to add a few more tunes to your playlist. Here are a few awesome finds.

Los Texmaniacs – El Rancho Grande – Recently, a new compilation paying tribute to the late great Freddy Fender was released. Included in the mix of tunes was Grammy winners, Los Texmaniacs with their rendition of El Rancho Grande. With Josh Baca’s squeezebox and Max Baca’s signature bajo sexto, this tune is fast becoming a favorite. Check it out.

Los Nuevos Dudes – La Luz – One of my favorite duos during the late 80s was Los Dudes, which featured Joe Revelez and Anthony Hernandez sharing vocal and keyboard duties. Their live shows never disappointed as the two-man band made a lot of noise. Revelez, now, teams up with former Gary Hobbs keyboardist Hector Gutierrez on this new tune. Revelez has not lost his touch with his jazzy keyboarding, with the accomplished Gutierrez adding a strong segunda.

The Latin Breed – Ay Mujer – Recently, The Latin Breed released a new album of re-recorded hits featuring their most recent lead vocalist Ben Miranda. Ay Mujer was one of the top hits from Latin Breed’s best seller, Breakin’ the Rules from 1988. Since then, the legendary big band has made several albums, but this is the first time they have re-recorded some of their biggest hits featuring a newer vocalist. Folks will remember that Breakin’ The Rules launched the career of Jay Perez. The Latin Breed does not disappoint with their tight horn and rhythm section, but Ben Miranda also impresses. After 50 years in the business, The Latin Breed continues to tour putting on powerful performances.

And as we begin Raza Heritage Month…

The Tortilla Factory – Mi Gente – A few years ago, The Tortilla Factory recorded this powerful tune, a sequel to Little Joe, Johnny y La Familia’s legendary Las Nubes. El Gato Negro Ruben Ramos, El Charro Negro Bobby Butler, and Alfredo Guerrero provide a 3-part harmony, while Joe Gallardo offers up some trombone licks. Listen to the lyrics. The video features some powerful images, too. One familiar face is our friend, former Senator Gonzalo Barrientos.

Performing Artists Take Multiple Hits During COVID-19

Los Texmaniacs at Heights Theater, Christmas 2019

Writing and reading about Grammy-winning performer Max Baca’s fight with COVID-19 had me thinking about the multiple hits (health and financial) artists and performers are taking during the pandemic. An article in the San Antonio Report about Baca and other musician’s struggles really hit me with this reality.

During the pandemic, Baca took care in keeping himself safe–virtual concerts on Wednesdays to make a few bucks via Paypal donations, and mostly living off of his savings. Eight months later, with savings depleted, Baca hit the road again to pay the bills and ventured into danger.

Trump’s promises that the pandemic was a temporary thing that would disappear were outright lies that fed into a disinformation campaign to keep people confused and acting stupidly; but, the reality is that it is long-term, cutting into most performer’s ability to make money and pay their bills. And that included Baca’s band Los Texmaniacs.

After whittling down his life savings trying to stay afloat while the coronavirus pandemic brought his live performances to a grinding halt, Baca knew he needed to look outside of his hometown of San Antonio for gigs to pay the bills.

That desperation took the guitarist and vocalist to Lafayette, Louisiana, where he found a few paying gigs playing with a stripped-down version of his Grammy Award-winning band Los Texmaniacs.

“I still gotta pay my mortgage because there’s no such thing as a deferred payment” from his lender, Baca said, noting that all his bills were urgently coming due.

It was a decision that has now put his career in jeopardy.

San Antonio Report, 11/22/2020

Baca contracted COVID-19 and has spent almost a couple of weeks in ICU recovering.

Another reality is that federal CARES funds that helped many small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic were quite complicated for musicians and performers to apply for and receive. The competition was fierce for the funds, not to mention that they were limited. And Baca, unfortunately, did not receive any funding. Now, he’s fighting COVID-19, on top of no performances, no health insurance, and the extra $600 in unemployment payments about to end.

For many performers, the gigs are their livelihood, and we have seen a recent uptick in live performances at clubs and event centers around the state. And all of this during the current COVID-19 surge. Are these the next super-spreader events that we are not hearing about in the news?

Because that is the reality: Crowded performances mean more infections if CDC protocols are not followed. And it seems the maskless and easily offended by the CDC always win in Texas, thanks to Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick. Still, venues and performers have a responsibility to enforce CDC protocols, including testing before performances–even requiring it for attendees of these indoor events. There is very little (or none) of this happening.

Houston recently announced a program dedicated to helping musicians and music venues get through the pandemic. Musicians are eligible for up to $5000, while venues are eligible for $50,000 to $100,000 depending on budget size. Unfortunately, we’re only talking about $3,000,000. But it’s something.

Some bands have built a good infrastructure to continue despite COVID-19. Unfortunately, many of them did not have the ability (or maybe confidence) to create a strong virtual presence. Bands like The Mavericks have taken to pay-per-view concerts based on a loyal fan base willing to pay the virtual door fee. Intocable were one popular band that were able to do a mini-tour of outdoor parking lot concerts in various parts of the state to some success.

And there are others in the Tejano industry who have done Facebook Live gigs asking for donations. Unfortunately, virtual gigs don’t give a band the feel of a live show with an energetic crowd. Still, it’s an opportunity that some of these Tejano bands have not fully utilized and that fans have not fully appreciated (through good donations).

There doesn’t seem to be much of a solution and as long as COVID-19 surges, there will be an eventual shutdown–or more limits on attendance. It is easy to tell these bands and venues that they have a responsibility to keep people from attending super-spreader events, but somewhere along the way, musicians were left to fend for themselves with little to no help. Thus, some are back on the road with no CDC compliance and a fan base that feels invincible to the disease (until they find out they aren’t). It’s a vicious circle.

While the HEROES Act passed by the Democratic US House sits in limbo because of a vindictive Republican US Senate and President, at the very least the $600 of extra unemployment benefits must be extended beyond Christmas. A better solution would be for Republicans and Trump to get off their asses and pass/sign a HEROES Act that takes care of gig-to-gig performers and artists whose talents have always been taken for granted.

Wear a mask. Wash hands. Stay home. And if you must work or be out and about, wear a mask, wash hands, and physically distance yourself from people outside of your home circle.

UPDATE: Los Texmaniacs report that Max Baca is now recovering at home. This is great news!

Los Texmaniacs, Rick Treviño Give History and Culture Lessons at Heights Theater

The Heights Theater was booming on Friday night with the sounds of the Grammy-winning Los Texmaniacs, along with Rick Treviño and Ringo Garza (Los Lonely Boys). Fans were taken on a trip through Chicano history and culture during the two-hour concert.

Los Texmaniacs started their set with a huapango, then immediately went into their signature rancheras, Ganas Quisiera Tener and Soy de San Luis. As they always do, they gave a quick history lesson about the origins of Tex-Mex conjunto music, then they belted out a favorite, Cancion Mixteca. With fat bass lines from Noel Hernandez, hard-driving drumming from Daniel Martinez, the sweet bellowing squeezbox of Josh Baca, and Max Baca’s dexterous bajo sexto, the joint was jumping.

Rick Treviño joined them, along with his own keyboardist Milton Walters, to belt out some of his own hits, including Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone and Better in Texas. A fan favorite was Rick and Los Texmaniacs’ Grammy-nominated I Am A Mexican. The Treviño-penned tune is about an immigrant’s struggle between being an asset to, and a target of, his adopted country. Treviño, and Walters as accompanist, then added his first song as an independent musician, Cowboys Like Me, as well as one of his first hits, Learning As You Go. He ended his solo set with She Can’t Say I Didn’t Cry with him on the piano.

Los Texmaniacs came back out with Treviño to give us a treat, Wasted Days and Wasted Nights, a tribute to Freddy Fender. Max Baca then recognized Treviño as the next big Chicano country singer after Johnny Rodriguez and Freddy. Then, the crowd was treated to a rousing rendition of Volver, Volver, which turned into a sing-a-long.

But the treats weren’t over. Los Texmaniacs brought out Los Lonely Boys drummer, Ringo Garza, to play a few tunes, including a ranchera. I’d only heard Ringo play Texican Rock, but him on a ranchera really was a treat. They brought out Ringo’s son, Ringo, Jr., who at age 13 is already an accomplished guitarist, to give the crowd some blues and rock guitaristics. Whatever “IT” is, that kid’s got it.

Los Texmaniacs ended their set with the anthemic Mexico Americano, but were brought out for an encore, which included the funky, yet educational, closer Down in the Barrio.

The near-capacity crowd loved every minute of the concert and responded well to the band. For the band, it was obvious that they enjoyed giving of their art. Touring on the Grammy-nominated Cruzando Borders (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings) and their indy-labeled Americano Groove, Los Texmaniacs have a lot of music on which to build their set lists. They picked the right tunes last night.

Rick Trevino Debuts “I Am A Mexican” [VIDEO]

Continuing the musical theme of struggle and inclusion that one currently sees in the music industry, country crooner Rick Trevino debuts a new single, “I Am A Mexican.” Backed up by Grammy winning acordeonista Flaco Jimenez, the poignant song about the real struggles of a laboring immigrant is timely as negative rhetoric and negative policies toward brown people continue to intensify.

For years, now, the country singer, who started his career in bilingual fashion, has been working on his roots, participating in projects, such as Los Super Seven, singing Tejano with Ruben Ramos, and adding a Tex-Mex flavor to his tunes. So, it’s not surprising that he has come to this point where he is able to address one of the most heated issues in America.

Here’s I Am A Mexican. While the song is poignant, it’s the images in the video that are powerful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 4/15 – Los TexManiacs at Discovery Green

Grammy-winning Los Texmaniacs are headlining the Discovery Green Birthday Bash this coming Sunday, April 15. The Bash starts at noon with Los Texmaniacs hitting the stage around 4:35pm.

Discovery Green is celebrating 10 years and those years have been filled with plenty of great and free family events. Here is the schedule:

The event schedule is as follows:
12–4 p.m.
Cultural performances by Ballet Folklorico, Aztec dance by Danza Quetzalli, Dance of Asian America, Brazilian Arts Foundation and more on the Anheuser-Busch Stage

12:15–12:30 p.m.
Drumline on the White Promenade

1 p.m.
Reading by Writers in the Schools BLOOMS on the Lindsey Waterside Landing

1–3 p.m.
Performance by Cirque la Vie on the Jones Lawn

4–6 p.m.
Performances by Los Texmaniacs on the Anheuser-Busch Stage

Los Texmaniacs are set to release their new album, Cruzando Borders, on May 11. I’m pretty sure some of the new stuff is on their set-list. Go check them out and enjoy some Tex-Mex Conjunto and Americana music.

Los Texmaniacs’ Cruzando Borders To Be Released on May 11

With anti-Mexican hate on the rise, I haven’t felt too bloggy lately. If anything, it’s been down-right depressing. Trump is militarizing the border, again. (Remember, Obama did it in 2010 to appease Republicans.) So, what’s the best way to respond to this kind of pendejismo? Musica y cultura always works for me!

So, when Los Texmaniacs posted on their social media that their upcoming album will be released on May 11, 2018, happiness ensued! Cruzando Borders, on the Smithsonian Folkways Recording label, will offer up some hard-core Tex-Mex Conjunto stylings featuring various themes and messages. Here’s the text of a recent article on the album:

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is proud to release ‘Cruzando Borders’ from the GRAMMY Award-winning conjunto group Los Texmaniacs, including dynamic feature performances from fellow GRAMMY winners Lyle Lovett, Rick Fuentes and Rick Treviño. This is the band’s third album for the label, following 2012’s ‘Texas Towns & Tex-Mex Sounds’ and 2009’s ‘Borders y Bailes.’ On the 14-song ‘Cruzando Borders,’ Los Texmaniacs remain close to their conjunto roots, and the result is a joyous, poignant work that grows in meaning with each listen. The release is a fitting addition to Smithsonian Folkways’ 70th year anniversary celebration.

Listen to a 3-song sampler.

The band is quick to point out that ‘Cruzando Borders’ is more than music; it was crafted to send a message. Prompted by negative public rhetoric about the U.S.-Mexican border and Mexican culture, and inspired by the transcendent brotherhood and exquisite beauty of the border life they have experienced, Los Texmaniacs have created an album that asserts pride in both their native Mexican culture and U.S. nationhood. 

Bajo sexto master Max Baca, who cut his teeth with the hit-making, crossover band The Texas Tornados, founded Los Texmaniacs in 1997. He sought to form a group that espoused the traditions of Tejano music he grew up with and combined them with elements of blues, rock, country and jazz. He enlisted his nephew, Josh Baca, a highly skilled accordion player who, on Max’s urging, absorbed the fundamental style and repertoire of the deep conjunto tradition – old-time Tejano polkas, redovas, chotises(schottisches), waltzes and huapangos – to create what Josh calls his “Texas gumbo – my own posole” (Mexican hominy soup).

The Bacas added drummer and multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo Martínez, who brought to Los Texmaniacs a style that incorporated both Mexican and Chicano cultures as well as American grooves (he’s a hardcore James Brown fan). Next came multi-instrumentalist Noel Hernández, who developed his skills as a performer deep in the heart of conjunto country in the Rio Grande Valley. Hernández’s virtuosic abilities and vast musical heritage made him a natural fit.

While ‘Cruzando Borders’ sees Los Texmaniacs rededicating themselves to the sounds that first influenced them, it is by no means an exercise in rote traditionalism; you can feel the band finding new facets in the conjunto form. On the crackling instrumental “La chicharronera,” Max and Josh duet majestically on bajo sexto and accordion while paying tribute to the song’s composer, Narcisco Martínez. That track, along with the zesty chotís (schottische) “Labios de coral” and the redova “El porrón,” point to the enduring social dance tradition that goes along with the music.

Throughout the album, on rousing cuts such as “Pablo de monte” and “El bracero fracasado,” a bold narrative emerges as the band explores the often tragicomic tales of cross-border life. On the aching ballad “Across the Borderline,” made famous by Willie Nelson and Freddy Fender, Max Baca’s supple voice is the perfect counterpoint for guest singer Rick Fuentes as they imagine a life where “every street is paved with gold, and it’s just across the borderline.” Lyle Lovett, who has worked with Baca in the super-group Los Super Seven, lends his plaintive vocals on the wistful campfire folk tune “Deportee,” with its evocative lyrics penned by Woody Guthrie. (Guthrie was inspired by a 1948 news article about a plane crash involving 28 unnamed migrant Mexican farm laborers who were being repatriated. The song itself has recently been featured in the news after artist Tim Z. Hernandez revealed the deportees’ real identities.) 

The delicate yet defiant country-laced ballad “I Am a Mexican” boasts lead vocals by its writer, Rick Treviño, also a Los Super Seven compatriot, and Max Baca calls it “a perfect example of the whole concept of this album. It says, ‘I am a Mexican, and God bless America.'” “Mexico Americano” is an irrepressibly upbeat polka peppered with Max and Noel’s passionate singing. Summing up why it’s the album’s opening track, Josh Baca says, “It’s a beautiful song because it identifies who we are. My grandparents on my mother’s side were born and raised in Mexico and moved over here to America to better their lives. That side of my family taught me that there’s more to life than just playing the accordion…values in life, morals. And the record represents that.”

With ‘Cruzando Borders,’ Los Texmaniacs make good on their mission to champion their musical and cultural heritage with deep, abiding pride and dazzling artistry. The album is as inspiring and soul enriching as it is timely and timeless. 

‘Cruzando Borders’ Track List:

1. Mexico Americano (Mexican American)

2. La pajarera (The Bird Vendor)

3. El bracero fracasado (The Failed Bracero)

4. I Am a Mexican

5. El porrón (The Slow Mover)

6. En avión hasta Acapulco (To Acapulco by Plane)

7. Deportee

8. Soy de San Luis

9. La chicharronera (The Pork Cracklings Maker)

10. Across the Borderline

11. Valentín de la sierra

12. Don Luis el Tejano

13. Pablo de monte (Pablo from the Hills)

14. Labios de coral (Lips of Coral)

Hill Top Cafe Benefit Concerts for Josh Baca of Los Texmaniacs

From the inbox:

Our friend, Josh Baca of Los Texmaniacs, lost his home to a house fire on New Year’s Eve. His family of seven was able to escape, but lost all of their possessions when their San Antonio rent house burned to the ground in a matter of minutes. The Baca family did not have renters insurance.

Our network of family, friends, and musicians are pulling together in an effort to raise money for this wonderful family. Hill Top Cafe will be sponsoring two evenings of music and relief efforts: Wednesday, February 21st and Saturday, February 24th.

Hill Top Cafe 10661 US-87
Fredericksburg, TX 78624 (830) – 997-8922

Some of Texas’s most revered artists (Marcia Ball, Johnny Nicholas), along with rising songwriters (Kelley Mickwee, Jaimee Harris) will be joining forces to raise funds and hope for the Baca family.

Hill Top Cafe will be serving a four course meal during the benefit shows, and will host a raffle. $100 per person / Lone Star Dining Room, $50 per person / Cavern Dining Room.

All proceeds will go to the Baca family in order to help them rebuild and recover.

Additional benefit concerts will be held in San Antonio and Austin.

Artists that will be participating at the various benefits to be held at Hill Top Café, Austin & San Antonio include:

  • Johnny Nicholas & Hell Bent
  • Bill Kirchen
  • Marcia Ball
  • The Delinquents’ from Lafayette Louisiana (Swing & Cajun)
  • Los Texmaniacs
  • Kelley Mickwee
  • Jaimee Harris
    MORE TBA…

For those of you who are unable to attend, but would still like to help, you may purchase raffle tickets or make a donation directly to the family.

Please contact Kayla at Hill Top Cafe for more information. (830) 997-8922reservation@hilltopcafe.com

Let’s Help Josh Baca of Los Texmaniacs

Max Baca, Stace, Josh Baca

One of my favorite Tex-Mex bands is the Grammy-winning Los Texmaniacs, fronted by Max Baca and featuring his nephew Josh Baca on the accordion.

I try to catch their shows every time they come to Houston, and I’ve enjoyed reviewing their concerts and albums. They’re a bunch of great guys and accomplished musicians.

This past holiday, Josh Baca and his family lost everything when they suffered through a home fire. They escaped only with the clothes on their backs–and we all know it’s been pretty cold.

A GoFundMe was created to help the family get back to basics as they get back on their feet. Many in the Tex-Mex music community have done their part. No doubt, Josh will work even harder to get back to where they were. Let’s all do our part and help a great musician and purveyor of our cultura.

DC Reviews: Los Cenzontles ~ Carta Jugada

Get back to your roots, gente!

And with Carta Jugada, Los Cenzontles have given us a good way to do that.

Joining up with Los Texmaniacs and Flaco Jimenez, Los Cenzontles (a nahuatl word for mockingbird) have given us an amazing album of standards backed up by some amazing accordion, bajo sexto, guitar, tough bass lines and drums. Simple and to the point.

But it’s the voices of Fabiola Trujillo and Lucina Rodriguez that power this album from start to finish. Starting with the old vals Que Sacrificio and bolero Libro Abierto, backed up by Flaco Jimenez, one gets a good feeling about where this album is going. Throw in another Flaco backed ranchera in the classic Hermosimo Lucero and the title track vals and one knows this is a special album.

While Flaco Jimenez is the foremost ambassador of the accordion, one cannot but place Texmaniac Josh Baca close to the top of that list of premier squeezebox players. And his abilities are evident in my favorite tune on the album, La Traicionera, along with the dexterous bajo playing of his Tio Max Baca.

If one is looking for a huapango, one will find it on this album. Lucina and Eugene Rodriguez provide the vocals on Los Juiles, which includes some amazing rhythms and bajo/guitar playing. The corrido, Nomas Las Mujeres Quedan, is a tune about dueling ranch dynasties and about the women who are left. Finally, the closing tune is another favorite sung by Fabiola and Lucina, the beautiful bolero Una Pagina Mas, about a woman ready to leave the past to move forward in love and life.

The album is up at the different online sites. Get your copy now from Amazon or their Online Store.

About Los Cenzontles

Los Cenzontles is a band, a nonprofit organization, a music academy, a community space for youth and families, and a hub for Latino artists – all working together to amplify our Mexican roots here in the Bay Area and beyond.

We produce original music, videos, and educational tools. We teach classes to hundreds of local youth in traditional Mexican music, dance, and arts and crafts. We host many popular community events throughout the year.

Locally, we are a second home for many families and we are a long-standing leader in the Mexican roots revival here in the United States.

Make a contribution to this organization today.