Los Lonely Boys, with Kinky.

At the Santa Barbara Bowl,
Thursday, August 24.

“Heaven” floated on the summer airwaves
in 2004, creating a career for the brothers Garza and their trio
Los Lonely Boys (LLB). Beyond the tight guitar of Henry Garza and
the tidy harmonies added by bassist bro Jojo and drummer Ringo, Los
Lonely Boys’ number-one song showed this band was, most of all,
authentic. These were serious and seriously talented musicians who
created a sound of the moment true to their place and past, the

musical burrito that is southern Texas. Their debut album revealed
an accomplished blend of country, blues, conjunto, pop, and the
guitar-based Texas jams perfected by Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Henry, Ringo, and Jojo Garza

In the two years since, the Boys have presented three recorded
concerts, including an intriguing tribute and show with country
legend Ronnie Milsap and the initial enhanced CD release of Los
Lonely Boys, which highlights their live blues chops. So it was
surprising that their Bowl show was disappointing — it lacked grit;
the performance was a journeyman’s tour of songs from their new
album Sacred and their debut release that proved more artisan than
art. (The opening band Kinky, however, made for a lively and fun

What exists from Los Lonely Boys’ filmed and live recorded
performances was rarely apparent on the Bowl’s stage. The most
memorable highlights came from two oldies: their hit “Heaven” as
the encore, and when their father, Enrique Garza, joined them for
“Folsom Prison Blues.” And then there was the closing jam that
featured Henry’s free-form blues and allowed all the players
(including equally talented keyboardist Michael Ramos) to show
their stuff.

Stepping out from beneath the shadow cast by “Heaven” has proven
difficult for LLB, as none of their material, past or present,
captures the same spark. Their live show gets mucked up when
branching out. Sticking to simple genres like blues and conjunto
allows these gifted musicians to function purely; they should learn
to avoid the other junk and just plain play.


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