Tejano music greats Flaco Jiménez and Los Texmaniacs celebrate the sounds of the American southwest | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Music » Concert Preview

Tejano music greats Flaco Jiménez and Los Texmaniacs celebrate the sounds of the American southwest

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

No artist has single-handedly shaped the contemporary soundtrack of the American southwest like Flaco Jiménez. Born in 1939 into a legendary musical family in San Antonio, Jiménez followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to learn the accordion. He formed his first group at age 16, and in the mid-1960s he arrived on the national scene by lending his heart-rousing chords to the likes of Ry Cooder and the Rolling Stones; since then he’s released dozens of recordings under his own name and joined seminal bands such as Tejano stars Texas Tornados and Latin American supergroup Los Super Seven. These days, the 80-year-old icon often performs with Los Texmaniacs, whose multihued sound springs from a musical heritage that has flourished on both sides of the Rio Grande for more than a century. Founded in 1997 by Max Baca, Los Texmaniacs celebrate conjunto and Tejano traditions with a sound built on Baca’s masterful playing of the bajo sexto (a 12-string guitar that appeared in Mexico in the late 1800s) in dialogue with the accordion of his nephew Josh Baca. Rounded out by funk-infused Chicano-rock drummer Lorenzo Martínez and versatile, classic Tejano bass player Noel Hernandez, Los Texmaniacs combine the venerable, irresistibly danceable repertoire at the heart of early conjunto (old-time polkas, schottisches, mazurkas, waltzes, and huapangos) with the rock, R&B, and country flourishes of Tejano music. What sets the band apart from their peers is Max Baca’s intimate understanding of the swinging roots of those genres and Josh Baca’s amped-up, punky energy—when he attacks the squeeze box, he propels the signature oompah of southwest Texas traditional music into modern times. On Los Texmaniacs’ newest album, last year’s Cruzando Borders (Smithsonian Folkways), they deal with issues faced by immigrants in a poignant version of Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee” as well as songs such as “Mexico Americano” and “I Am a Mexican,” which celebrate the pride of loving two lands and cultures and lament being excluded from both. It’ll be a treat to see Los Texmaniacs with Jiménez; their joyful sounds ought to keep everyone on the dance floor all evening.   v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment