ABOUT LOS LONELY BOYS: Lots of musicians compare their careers to roller-coaster rides, but Los Lonely Boys have had so many close-your-eyes-and-hang-on moments in the 14 years since they recorded their self-titled debut, they should buy an amusement park.
The story of how the Garza brothers – vocalist/guitarist Henry, bassist/vocalist Jojo, and drummer/ vocalist Ringo – rode their bluesy “Texican rock” sound from San Angelo, Texas, to worldwide fame is one of rock’s great Cinderella tales. But the story of how they’ve persevered in the face of subsequent challenges is just as compelling. In 2013, they canceled 43 shows and paused work on their last album, Revelation, after Henry was seriously hurt when he fell from a stage in Los Angeles. A couple of years previously, vocal cord nodules had forced Jojo to stop singing for months. And in 2015, their mother passed away.
Their strong brotherly bond helped them through those rough spots – just as it did when they made the hard decision to step out from under their father’s musical leadership and form their own band after performing with him since childhood. The desire to follow their musical muse still drives them today, according to Jojo.
“There is no rest for those who are chosen to be musicians,” he says. “Ideas for songs are constant. We are being charged with what will be spread through our songs. We want to make music that brings people together.
“We’re all about having a good time, but we also make an effort to write about subjects that matter. Life, death, love, hate, compassion, transgression, light, darkness, truth; they’re what we’ve always been about. We’re not interested in songs about how you look and what kind of car you drive and how much money you have. We want to create music that’s about the love and energy and spirit we all carry. It comes from a bigger source than ourselves.”
That’s why they titled their 2014 release Revelation. Its songs were meant to serve as mirrors of sorts, reflecting aspects of our lives in ways that reveal new insights. “As musicians and artists,” Jojo says, “we’re here to connect with people.”
Released on their LonelyTone imprint under Austin-based indie label Playing in Traffic Records, Revelation maintains the infectiously melodic mix of bluesy rock ’n’ roll and rootsy soul that’s long endeared Los Lonely Boys to their fiercely loyal fans. Flawless harmonies and soaring solos remain trademarks, but in these songs, they explore rhythms from conjunto (“Blame It On Love”) to reggae (“Give A Little More”), along with rustic acoustic textures (“It’s Just My Heart Talkin’”) and baroque pop shadings (“There’s Always Tomorrow”).
“We’re always trying to broaden our horizons musically,” Jojo says. “We’re always looking for new ways to communicate, so we experimented with different sounds and production approaches.”
They also turned to co-writers, including Americana icon Radney Foster, pop tunesmiths Matthew Gerrard and David Quiñones, Black-Eyed Peas collaborators George Pajon Jr. and Keith Harris, and Ozomatli’s Raul Pacheco.
Their scare with Henry caused all three brothers to re-examine not only how they make music, but how they conduct their lives. “The whole experience was a wake-up call,” Jojo admits. “It reminded us of what’s really important.”
Once again, they affirmed that’s family. And music. For this trio, the two are inseparable. In fact, the sons of Enrique “Ringo” Garza Sr. are a second-generation sibling band; their dad and his brothers played conjunto as the Falcones before the elder Garza formed a band with his sons.
They were still teens when he moved them to Nashville, hoping to hit career paydirt. But their big break came after they returned to Texas and began playing Austin clubs in the early 2000s. One day, Willie Nelson’s nephew heard some demos. Next thing they knew, Willie showed up at a gig. Then he showcased them at Farm Aid, fronted recording time at his famed Pedernales Studio and even guested on their album.
Released in 2003 on startup label Or Records, Los Lonely Boys got picked up by Epic and rereleased. Propelled by its No. 1 single, “Heaven,” it wound up selling over 2 million copies, spending 76 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and earning them a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.
Their dream-come-true rise was chronicled in the documentary, Los Lonely Boys: Cottonfields and Crossroads, directed by fellow San Angelo native Hector Galán. Another dream came true when Carlos Santana invited them to guest on his 2005 album, All That I Am. They also released Live at the Fillmore that year. Their father and Nelson joined them on 2006’s Sacred, and in 2007, their cover of John Lennon’s “Whatever Gets You Through the Night” became the second single from the album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.
Forgiven and Christmas Spirit arrived in 2008, followed in 2009 by 1969, an all-covers EP homage to rock’s most influential era and their first LonelyTone release through Playing in Traffic Records. Then they traveled to Iraq to entertain American troops and embarked on an acoustic tour, documented with the 2010 album, Keep on Giving: Acoustic Live. Rockpango came in 2011. They’re now creating follow-ups to Revelation’s musical outpouring.
If anything, Jojo says, life’s upheavals have tightened their bond even more. “We stick together,” he adds, “and we’re trying to pass on that feeling of brotherhood, of familia, in all the music we make.”
ABOUT DEL CASTILLO: Del Castillo is a cross-cultural power in music. Their original sound blends, rock, Latin, blues, and world music.
“Whether Del Castillo works in Spanish or English, it rocks righteously. The Spanish guitars’ flamenco vibe gives a dramatic flair, abetted by Alex Ruiz’s passionate vocals. They pull together Latin music’s romance and rock’s grit.” says Billboard”
“… tumbling brilliance on nylon-string guitars…These eruptions of technique and taste conjure images of Eddie Van Halen fronting early Santana (with an assist from the Gipsy Kings).” says Rolling Stone.
Between the release of their first CD, Brothers of the Castle back in 2001, to their 2006 release, Brotherhood, Del Castillo has received an astonishing 18 awards including SXSW/Austin Music “Album of the Year” Awards for Vida (2002) and Brotherhood (2006), “Band of the Year (2003)”, ASCAP’S “Best Independent Group of the Year (2005)”, and Austin Music Pundits “Best Live Act (2004)”.
Film Director Robert Rodriguez attended a Del Castillo concert in 2002 and a great friendship developed between the two. Rodriguez then enlisted the group to contribute music to the soundtracks of his movies, such as “Spy Kids 3D”, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”,“Sin City”, and “GRINDHOUSE”, and perform with him at the premieres. Rodriguez was so impressed with Del Castillo that he wanted to record with them, so together, they formed CHINGON and recorded an amazing electric rendition of the Mexican classic song, “Malaguena Salerosa”. Quentin Tarantino loved it so much that he re-did the ending sequence of “Kill Bill Vol. II” to fit the song into his movie.
By 2004, Del Castillo was touring nationwide across the country playing with such diverse acts as Styx, Los Lonely Boys, Ozomatli, Don Henley, Los Lobos, and Willie Nelson and continued tour non-stop through 2006. They have performed at three of Willie Nelson’s 4th Of July Picnics, and at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, and they have made numerous national and local TV appearances.
Willie Nelson enjoyed Del Castillo so much that he re-recorded his song “I Never Cared For You” with the group (which is included on Del Castillo’s Brotherhood CD) and calls it “his favorite version”. Nelson has become a good friend of the band as well and the two look forward to touring together again soon.
During 2008, the band began playing major festivals all over the country and even Canada and widening its audience at a much more rapid rate. At California’s famous Strawberry Music Festival, they were deemed the highlight of the festival and broke the merchandise sales record. Immediately after their incendiary debut performance at the Vancouver Folk Festival in Canada, they were selected to play the headlining stage for 2009.
Rick and Mark del Castillo were selected in December 2008, by Gibson Global, to be two of only about SIX guitarists in the world to launch their new state-of the-art Dark Fire Gibson Les Paul guitar line.
The band, now reunited with longtime charismatic frontman Alex Ruiz providing lead vocals, is recording new music with the brothers’ mesmerizing guitar driven songs, intertwined with hypnotic rhythms from Mike Zeoli and Jason Murdy, and pulsating bass lines from Albert Besteiro.
Through their great artistic friendship and partnership with director Robert Rodriguez, Rick, Mark, Alex & Mike are featured actors performing on the TV show “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” on the El Rey Network!
“I want to bring the most exciting and authentic content possible,” said Rodriguez when announcing the TV series. “Chingon and Del Castillo have been part of my experience providing this kind of entertainment to audiences since the beginning.”
Del Castillo’s new instrumental track, “Las Seis Cuerdas de Tony Montuno” was recently hand picked to be featured on episode 2 of ABC’s new crime/drama Killer Women (01/14).
Mark & Rick are featured on Ray Benson’s just released solo CD, A Little Piece.
Del Castillo has received accolades and awards for their music and performances over the years. At the Ellnora Guitar Festival in Illinois, Matt Blackett from Guitar Player Magazine said:
“Watching brothers Rick and Mark del Castillo take the stage and throw down dazzling nylon-string runs, in unison and in harmony, made me a big fan… infectious Latin rhythms with mind-boggling solos.” ( view video)
From the Montreaux Music Festival in Switzerland, and the Ellnora Guitar Festival in Illinois, to the California World Music Festival, Del Castillo thrives on performing live. Songwriting and recording projects are a priority during breaks in their tour schedule and a new release is upcoming!
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