Los Lonely Boys – Sacred (2006)

Sacred is the Los Lonely Boys‘ fourth album and their second studio set, released on July 18, 2006. The original title of the album, as shown on the “Diamonds” single printed materials was to be “Òralé”. “Diamonds”, a revised version of the same song from the 1997 album, was the first single to be released on May 8, 2006. This was followed by the single release of “My Way”.
The album features a fuller sound than the earlier album, primarily due to extra instruments. The button accordion is prominently featured on “Texican Style”, and harmonica on “Home”. There are horn accompaniments (trumpet, tenor and baritone sax) on several songs, including “My Way”.
Willie Nelson and the boys’ father, Enrique Garza, both perform on “Outlaws”. Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers is a co-author of “Roses”.
Sacred is, for the most part, an uptempo, rollicking, streetwise Texas rock record with many surprises. The Garza brothers’ lyric writing is still developing, but the tightknit arrangements, popping grooves, and focused musicianship more than balance. The album’s first single is “Diamonds,” and true to corporate rock standards, it’s an utterly catchy, infectious little track, but it’s far from the best thing here. Henry‘s blistering guitar offers a beautiful hook for the trio to sing off of; it’s a simple, hooky midtempo love ballad, played on stun, with two organs (played by Reese Wynans and Mike Finnegan) and producer John Porter lending a second guitar. All mixed up, it creates a big swirling danceable pop noise that will be instantly memorable to anyone who encounters it. That said, there are other cuts here that reveal the depths of the bandmembers’ musical knowledge and ideas that they are capable of pulling off. Take “Roses” as an example. Henry‘s Jimi Hendrix-cum-Stevie Ray Vaughan-cum-Albert Collins guitar style flat out creates a groove for the trio to sing from — its melody is sophisticated, entrancing, and layered through with B-3 fills. Ringo‘s polyrhythmic drum style and Carl Perazza‘s hand drums, the shimmering acoustic guitars, and the guitar solo make this the best driving track of 2006 so far.
The deeper Latin flavor of this record enters on “Oye Mamacita.” Henry‘s ear-popping funk riff is complemented by the organ and a large rhythm section laying down the floor. It’s a loose, orgiastic stinger where riffs, vocals, hooks, and rhythms collide and then slip into place, stacking on top of one another. The wah-wah guitar solo in this cut is to die for, and truth be told, it’s these guys who are creating a new mainstream Tex-Mex-driven Latin rock & roll that even gringos can cut a rug to. “Texican Style” (which is the best description of the music Los Lonely Boys play) features the button accordion of Michael Guerra right alongside Henry‘s guitar. The Texas Horns contribute to a couple of cuts, including the anthemic opener, “My Way” (no, not that one), and “Outlaws,” which also showcases Willie Nelson and Los Lonely Boys‘ father, Enrique Garza, Sr., on vocals. The latter cut puts Henry front and center with his wah-wahed, “Voodoo Chile”-esque opening. Here is the one-two stomp of Texas outlaw country music updated for the 21st century. The Texas Horns play a funky, gritty mariachi style introducing Enrique‘s swaggering verse, which introduces Nelson. One might mistakenly perceive this as a nod to novelty, but it kicks ass. Period. The set closes with “Living My Life,” a slippery, beautifully constructed Tex-Mex son in English. The three-part harmony is impeccable; the passion in the tune is balanced by its Sonoran desert feel. It’s tempting to single out Henry for his fluid, intuitive, and imaginative guitar playing, but that would be a mistake, as his brothers’ rhythm section is simply one of the best in the business. They add imagination, grit, and tough grooves to everything they touch. Add the fact that they co-write their songs — and they all sing — and you have a unit that is an entire thing unto itself. Sacred is an exciting, even wonderful second step for one of the truly unique bands on the scene.

Tracklist

1. “My Way” – 4:24
2. “Òralé” – 3:44
3. “Diamonds” – 3:14
4 .”Oyé Mamacita” – 3:31
5. “I Never Met a Woman” – 4:46
6. “Roses” – 3:51
7. “Texican Style” – 4:04
8. “One More Day” – 3:36
9. “Memories” – 4:10
10. “My Loneliness” – 4:44
11. “Outlaws” – 4:41
12. “Home” – 3:40
13. “Living My Life” – 4:26

Musicians

Notes
Released: July 18, 2006
Genre: Chicano rock, rock and roll, roots rock, Tex-Mex
Length: 50:30

Label – Epic Records