Friday, October 1, 2010

"Friday Night Frolic" - Arriba!

Hands down, Calexicohailing from Tuscon, Arizonais one of the most talented, original, and diverse group of musicians today. If I were obliged to choose one band that encapsulates the American experience, as it is today, Calexico would be my pick. Like the USA, Calexico's music is a brilliant admix of many styles and flavors. Fusing world, rock, Spanish (flamenco, mariachi), jazz, folk, blues and country, this band has spawned one of the most unique sounds in the music industry. 

It is virtually impossible to lump Calexico into any distinct musical genre, which is what is so exciting about this band—they are pioneering a brand of contemporary music that has no particular taxonomy. Comprised of six members (but often collaborating with others), the group, collectively, plays  approximately fifteen different instruments, including the vibraphone, cello, accordion, steel guitar, and glockenspiel.

The song Roka (Garden Ruin2006) captures the evolution and essence of this band, evoking the American West (think Sergio Leoneas in Frontera, from Calexico's seminal album The Black Light1998) with its Latin swing, Southwestern spice and wide open spaces. Listen to Roka below. You'll want to dance, swagger, kick up the dust, collapse in a woven hammock, close your eyes and sip a cool mojito:

And my personal favoritecutting to the heart of the great immigration debate, a narrative of desperate circumstances, a flight across the southern borderis the song Across the Wire (Feast of Wire—2003). Pepe Romero embracing John Prine under a sweeping Texan sky (and if you haven't seen John in concert, I highly recommend it).


Have a wonderful weekend...
Adios Amigos!


  1. My lord woman, who are you? You have just hit on another two of my fave artistes, namely Calexico and John Prine. Firstly Calexico, you do them justice and they play some of the most complex arrangements, using so many different styles it is hard to peg them. Damn, they are good live as well. I caught them last year. Twice. And they had the croed in their hands with their fusion of rock, latin, tex-mex, whatever.
    Oh and John Prine, what a troubadour. I just picked up a duet album of his. Love the tune he does with Iris DeMent 'In spite of ourseves', pure genius ('he ain't been laid in a month of Sundays, last week I caught him sniffing my undies...')
    Again, I doffs my hat to you and your taste.

  2. Dan- Have yet to see Calexico live. They're in Tuscon in March, and I have half a mind (literally... I think) to fly out there. They're not touring much right now. Need get them to Beantown.
    But... I did see John Prine AND Iris DeMent about a year ago (small venue) and it was close to one of the best shows I've ever seen. They were hysterical w/In Spite... I couldn't get enough of 'em. He's just magic and she's an utter doll.

  3. Yeah, I haven't seen Iris, even though I have a huge crush on her. It is festival season down here and a lot of rootsy type artistes are making there way down here and doing plenty of sideshows, especially in Melbourne, the centre of Oz music and culture (well yes, I am biased).
    As a tease I am going to see Paul Collins from the Nerves and the Paul Collins Beat in a few weeks (who wrote 'Hanging on the telephone'but maybe you know that factoid). A nice bit of 80's powerpop does wonders

  4. Festival season, lucky dawg. I remember the Beat, sort of the Nerves, definitely Hanging on the Telephone. More so Blondie's version. Sounds like good fun... I hope Mother Earth cooperates and behaves well for all of you.
    And Iris. I know. I have a crush on her too. ;)