Album Reviews

Los Texamaniacs

Americano Groove

Artist:     Los Texamaniacs

Album:     Americano Groove

Label:     Line in the Sound

Release Date:     06/06/2015


2010 Grammy Award Winners, Los Texamaniacs, exemplify the border music of the American southwest. Known in Spanish as “Conjunto,” the sound was born in south Texas at the end of the 19th century after German settlers introduced their accordions, waltzes and polkas to the region, which were adapted by the local population. In Mexico, the term Conjunto is associated with Norteño and Tejano music.

Los Texamaniacs, founded by Max Baca (bajo sexto, vocals), are a product of his wide-ranging experience touring and recording with Flaco Jimenez, the original Texas Tornados, Los Super Seven and even the Rolling Stones. The group’s latest release Americano Groove is produced by Steve Berlin, baritone saxophone player and multi-instrumentalist for Los Lobos. The songs are performed in English and Spanish and augmented by exemplars of the genre including David Hidalgo (also of Los Lobos), Augie Meyers, Rick Trevino, Joe Ely, Alejandro Escovedo and others.

Alejandro Escovedo kicks things off with “Down In The Barrio” which tells a tale of danger and violence over a CCR inflected Latin Rock groove. “Ya No Te Quiero Ver” (I Don’t Want To See You Anymore) features stellar accordion work by brother, Josh Baca. Those familiar with the music of Doug Sahm will recognize the 1960s keyboard tones of Augie Meyers on “How Can A Beautiful Woman Be So Ugly,” and Kevin Fowler sings in Spanglish on “Adios Mamacita.”

Oh mucho caliente, but she’s cold as ice.
Like a good tequila; she goes down nice.

Joe Ely rocks with stop and start verses on “I Wanna Know Your Name” while “Herido” downshifts in tempo to a romantic ballad with Caribbean percussion and twangy surf guitar. “Como Te Quiero” picks up the pace again with more oompha, and “Big Night In A Small Town” is good time country rock. David Hidalgo is back on guitar on “Mentirosa” and the 12th track closes out the album with “Polka Palitos.”

Americano Groove is notable for the band’s superlative musicianship and the all-star crew of guest musicians and singers. While lyrically straightforward, it’s hard to resist the rowdy Tex-Mex vibe. ¡Órale! (Wow!)

-Mike Cobb

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