A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Brothers Henry, Jojo, and Ringo Garzia, AKA Los Lonely Boys, manage to sound fresh and interesting while paying dutiful tribute to their influences. You'll hear musical nods to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana, and the kings of Tex-Mex rock español, Los Lobos. Producer John Porter, of Keb Mo and B.B. King fame, has done an exquisite job emphasizing the musical strengths of each band member, and instrumental help from pals Willie Nelson and Reese Wynans certainly doesn't hurt.
Is it any good?
Mostly in English with enough Spanish lyrics to give the album a bilingual feel, the original songs are pleasing and accessible but don't take any risks or break any new ground. The lyrics are so predictable that you can make a family game out of "guess the next line" on most of the songs, and the arrangements and vocal style feel comfortably familiar. So it's no huge surprise that the most imaginative moment on this album is a cover tune, the boys' take on Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line," in which they make this classic their own.
The magic -- and genius -- of Los Lonely Boys is that in spite of their apparent eagerness to please everybody all of the time and their "let's not take any risks" philosophy they have come up with a delightful, infectious, and absolutely listenable debut CD. Fans with find it worth the extra dollar or two to buy the version that includes a DVD with live performances and music videos.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the bilingual aspect. Do you appreciate the inclusion of both Spanish and English? How do you think they decide when to use which language? If you are only fluent in one of the two, do you enjoy the lyrics you don't understand well as much as those you do?