Little Joe Y La Familia Heat Up Festival Chicano

Miller Outdoor Theatre may self-combust tonight when the classic orquesta Tejana sounds of Grammy winners Little Joe y la Familia waft forth into what promises to be a temperate, perfect evening for music in the park. This marks the 31st annual Festival Chicano, one of the oldest such events in the United States.

Little Joe Hernandez is to Latino music in Texas what Doug Sahm was to Texas roots music, what the Carter Family is to country music. His influence on the shape of modern Latino music in Texas is almost unfathomable. Following in the footsteps of Beto Villa, Hernandez almost single-handedly upgraded the conjunto sound into something grander, more orchestral and urban.

He also was one of the first to realize there was a huge market among upwardly mobile Chicanos in the southwest for something other than conjunto, which many Chicanos associated with the lower classes and with a way of life they had left behind.

After 40 years in the business and over 50 albums, Hernandez, who has performed off and on with Texas supergroup Texas Tornados, continues to be a huge draw wherever he goes. Opening are Shelli Lares and Stafeni Montiel.

Here's a Youtube of Little Joe's classic 1977 hit, "Los Nubes." Check those old photos. These guys were cool cats all the way, even back in the day.

7 p.m., Friday Oct. 8, Miller Outdoor Theatre, 6000 Hermann Park Dr., 281-FREEFUN

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