Texas Towns & Tex-Mex Sounds (Smithsonian Folkways, 2012)
San Antonio-based Tejano band Los Texmaniacs brings conjunto music to the 21st century with their updated form of Tex-Mex dance music. Texas Towns & Tex-Mex Sounds, released at the end of July 2012, includes an interesting mix of polka, boleros, ballads, and Western swing with vocals in Spanish and English.
Max Baca formed Los Texmaniacs in 1997 after performing for ten years with the Texas Tornados. Baca is a maestro of the bajo sexto (a kind of 12-string guitar). The rest of the quartet includes accordion virtuoso David Farias; Lorenzo Martinez on drums and guitarron; and Oscar Garcia on bass. Special guests include well-known Western swing singer Ray Benson and fiddle player Jason Roberts from the group Asleep at the Wheel, as well as fiddler Bobby Flores.
The extensive Cd booklet includes line notes in English in Spanish with details about conjunto music, biographies of the band members and comments about the songs. The song topics range from love songs to political protest music.
The band’s first CD, A Tex Mex Groove, was released in 2004 and featured renowned guest artists such as Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers, Ruben Ramos, and Los Lobos. The second CD, About Time came out in 2007. Their third release, Borders y Bailes (2009) won a Grammy Award.
“I think Max [Baca] is the top dog on the bajo sexto… and [Los Texmaniacs accordionist] David Farías is a superb player,” said Tejano music legend Flaco Jiménez of the group. “We’re all on the same page. They’re a real tight band, man.”
Texas Towns & Tex-Mex Sounds represents the Texas melting pot, with its scrumptious mix of polkas, baladas, boleros and jazzy Texas swing.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.