By: Brian Mansfield
For USA TODAY
The “Texican rock ‘n’ roll” brother trio Los Lonely Boys grew up backing their father, a conjunto musician. Born in Snyder, Texas, all three — guitarist Henry Garza, 26, bassist JoJo, 25, and drummer Ringo (his given name), 22 — live in San Angelo.
The group’s self-titled album came out in August 2003. Late-night television performances propelled it onto the charts earlier this year. The album now sits at No. 45 on the Billboard chart. Exuberant single Heaven has hit the top 10 on Airplay Monitor’s modern adult contemporary and adult top 40 charts and is No. 36 at mainstream top 40. During March’s South by Southwest arts festival in Austin, the trio drew 23,000 fans to a free concert — the largest crowd in the event’s history. Carlos Santana sat in with the band during a recent concert in San Francisco.
The Willie connection: Willie Nelson was an early proponent of the band. He plays guitar on one track from the album, which was recorded at his Pedernales Studio in Austin. “He opened a lot of doors for us, man,” JoJo says. Says Ringo: “He’s like Yoda.”
The Musical Burrito theory: “A burrito is a tortilla filled with a bunch of stuff,” Henry explains. “We are the tortilla. Inside the tortilla, we’ve filled it with all the knowledge that we gathered from our influences. Our biggest influence is our father, then come all the others: The Beatles, Ritchie Valens, Willie and Waylon, Ronnie Milsap, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana. We fold it up and we feed it to the world.”
Long lonely road: The Garzas will appear on the Willie Nelson’s Outlaws and Angels special May 31 on USA Network. They’ll play the Bonnaroo music festival in June and headline shows during the summer, then tour with the Allman Brothers starting in August. They’ve scheduled international dates for the fall. “It’s going to be the Texican invasion of the other side of the world,” JoJo says. “I’m looking forward to going over there and giving them that Texican rock ‘n’ roll.”