Los Lonely Boys Mature, Get Goofy On New Rockpango

Rocks Off suspects the last thing Los Lonely Boys guitarist and singer Henry Garza wanted to do on the day after arriving back in San Angelo from a European tour with Los Lobos was a phone interview.

"We flew into Austin last night, then had a four-hour drive," he says from his home in San Angelo, where we hear sounds of domesticity in the background. "We got here about midnight. So we're just getting back with the families, laying low for a couple of days."

In spite of living in San Angelo, a farming, ranching, and industrial town of 100,000, the band seldom plays its home town.

"When we first started, we played every bar, club, and cantina around here, but we don't have the opportunity to play around here much anymore," says Garza. "We are tinkering with starting some kind of three-day festival and we're hoping to do it around Cinco de Mayo. But that's just a dream for right now, we've got so much going on with the record and touring."

So why has the popular band continued to base itself out of San Angelo rather than a more logical hub like Austin or Dallas? There must be pluses and minuses.

"The greatest plus for us is just being where the dirt calls to you," Garza laughs. "We were born in Snyder, then moved to San Angelo and we're all blue skies, flat country boys. And coming in off the road, we all relish the simpler life, slowing things down. We're not the types to be cool with being tied up in traffic and just all the extra stuff it takes to live in a bigger town.

"Not trying to be strange or anything, but this is just who we are."

Wildly successful from the beginning - the single "Heaven" from 2004 debut album Los Lonely Boys went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts - the band is touring behind the new album Rockpango.

It is already being compared favorably with Los Lobos and features a cross-section of sounds, from the Boys' trademark Texas power-trio blues-rock to quieter, thoughtful melodies and arrangements that take them way outside the boundaries of blues-rock.

"Man, you just mature," Garza explains matter-of-factly. "And we've been lucky enough to make it this long, so we've been around and been exposed to other ideas, and we've been able to learn from people and grow. No one wants to do the same thing over and over."

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William Michael Smith