Max Baca's Tex-Mex Supergroup Blows Into North Houston Saturday

Bajo sexto maestro Max Baca blows into north Houston club Area 45 Saturday to lead an all-star revue-style show that would be the envy of any promoter anywhere. A longtime member of Tex-Mex supergroup Texas Tornados and current leader of San Antonio roots outfit Los Texmaniacs, Baca says the idea came from the Grammy-winning Los Super Seven projects.

“The management at the Area 45 club have been asking us to put together a Los Super Seven thing for some time now, but some of the legalities keep us from being able to do anything like that using the name Los Super Seven,” Baca explains from his home in San Antonio. “So I told them that wasn’t possible, but we kept exploring how to put together a kind of revue-type show with a bunch of different people and this is what we came up with.

“It really comes down to almost everyone who had anything to do with our most recent album, Americano Groove, which we just released in June. I called David [Hidalgo] and Steve [Berlin] of Los Lobos and they immediately jumped on. Then Rick Trevino got in, and then I called Augie [Meyers] and Flaco [Jimenez]. So it’s pretty much just people who were on the last album.”

Baca notes the show will be divided into two sets, with Los Texmaniacs doing their regular set followed by a set backing up the other artists in a revue style.

"We’ll do several of Rick’s big hits, some Tornados stuff, maybe some Los Lobos stuff," he says. "We’re all real familiar with each other, so this should be a lot of fun. We’re hoping we can ramp this up and do some bigger venues and some festivals this next spring and summer maybe. It’s an evolving thing. I will tell you one thing: folks won’t ever see this much talent on one stage for this price again.”

Texmaniacs are headed back into the studio in December to record another album for Smithsonian Folkways Records. This will mark their third project with Smithsonian Folkways; the band won a Grammy in 2009 for Borders and Bailes on the label, and released Texas Towns and Tex-Mex Sounds in 2012. They have since released Americano Groove this year, and Baca notes the next album will have a nice surprise for Texas music fans.
“Lyle Lovett has agreed to come in and sing the old Woody Guthrie protest tune 'Deportee,'” Baca ecstatically notes. “This is such a huge thrill for us. I kinda knew Lyle’s albums and his hits, but I never really dug into him until last year when we did a festival in Vancouver. They had this great area in the back where everyone could chill and we were having a great time. Then Lyle started and I thought he just sounded terrific, so I told the guys we should go out front and watch. Well, we lucked out and there were some seats open right in front of Lyle, so we sat there and watched the entire show. It was amazing with that big 14-piece band. He’d do something acoustic, then he’d do something like a trio, then the whole band would come booming in, it was just wonderful. Anyway, we’re thrilled he’s coming in for the album, that’s a real honor for us.”

Even though they are about to record another album, Baca notes the real push for Americano Groove is just beginning.

“It’s been selling really well, but now we’re going to put some real pro PR person on to work it and we’ve got radio representation out of Nashville, so we’re hoping some more doors open," he says. "It’s a real accessible, easygoing album, so we hope people can just give it that first listen, you know, just give that record a chance.”

The band is booked steadily into February as far as weekend dates go, but Baca is hoping that after the push begins for Americano Groove the schedule will fill up even more.

“We were with Nancy Fly for booking for years, but she retired and since then our manager and I have done all that stuff,” Baca laughs. “But we’re talking to a couple of bigger booking agencies right now and we’re looking forward to playing a lot more dates in the future. And hopefully we can book some dates with this expanded revue lineup. We’re just waiting to see if there’s any demand for it. Friday night may tell us a lot.”

Baca notes it's a great time to be a band from San Antonio.

"The Doug Sahm documentary just came out and there just seems to be a lot of interest in San Antonio at the moment," Baca surmises. "That's part of what we try to do in Texmaniacs, cover all the diverse bases of San Antonio music. That's why we'll play a conjunto and follow it with "She's About a Mover," it's all coming from the same deep soul you find in San Antonio like no place else. It's a great time to be from San Antonio. And I think it's only going to get better."

Los Texmaniacs and special guests David Hidalgo, Steve Berlin, Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers, and Rick Trevino appear Saturday, November 21 at Area 45, 5900 North Fwy. Ste. 130. Doors open at 8 p.m.
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William Michael Smith