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Los Lonely Boys: Forgiven

Los Lonely Boys show promise, but can't quite forge a distinct sound on Forgiven.
Los Lonely Boys show promise, but can't quite forge a distinct sound on Forgiven.

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Willie Nelson and Los Lonely Boys appear at Willie Nelson's Family Picnic, with Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Billy Joe Shaver, David Allan Coe, Asleep at the Wheel and more. Saturday, July 5, at Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. West, 281-807-8760. Gates open at 1 p.m.

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This trio of San Angelo-born brothers and their professed brand of "Texican Rock and Roll" have always shown great promise. After the sophomore letdown of 2006's Sacred, Forgiven returns them to the level of 2004 debut Los Lonely Boys. But it still remains to be seen whether los hermanos Garza — Henry (lead vocals, guitar), Jojo (bass, piano) and Ringo (drums, of course) — can ever truly rise above influences like Hendrix, Santana and SRV. They've always bounced between the Adult Contemporary vibe of first hit "Heaven" and their bloozier bar-band leanings. Forgiven, while solid, mostly does little to choose sides, but its best tracks — the slightly psychedelic "Make It Better" and "Loving You Always," with its fine vocal harmonies and acoustic picking — are neither ballad nor blues. Other worthy cuts include tough rocker "There's a War Tonight," about domestic spats, and the WAR-ish novelty "Guero in the Barrio," which was probably even more fun to record than it is to listen to. An okay effort with flashes of something greater, Forgiven finds Los Lonely Boys at the mystical crossroads. You've gotten absolution, boys, now go make your pastor proud.

 
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