First, the semi-bad news: This dynamite free show was going to take place at the Falls Plaza at the Shops at La Cantera (which would’ve been a first), but it won’t, because Phase 2 of the Falls Plaza is still under construction. Instead, the show has been moved to the Leon Springs Dance Hall.
Now, the good news: the price, day, time, and lineup haven’t changed. If you don’t go you must refrain from saying “nothing happens in San Antonio” for at least three years. When it comes to free benefit shows, things don’t get much better than this.
I don’t know who chose the bands, but the timing is perfect. The Krayolas, Augie Meyers, and former Mavericks frontman Raúl Malo all have new, exciting albums, and the evergreen supergroup Vato Valley Boys (with members of the Sir Douglas Quintet, Texas Tornados, and BCH) is always an irresistible treat (by the way, bluegrass fiddler Byron Berline and guitar virtuoso Dan Crary are supposed to play solo and/or with their own bands as well). Hey, the playbill even features a few younger dudes like Adam Aguilar, who on his website confesses to have “no idea” why he is part of this gig, but Flaco says no one should feel intimidated.
“The Vatos is a really spontaneous experience for me,” Flaco Jiménez told the Current. “We’ve never done big shows before `as the Vato Valley Boys`, but we know each other well and when we get together, things just happen. It’ll be like a family reunion. I’m just ready to sit in and jam with the guys.”
For Héctor Saldaña, guitarist and lead vocalist for the Krayolas, this show is special for musical and personal reasons.
“They’re all fantastic musicians, but what I like the most is that they’re all friends of mine,” Saldaña said. “We’ve all recorded together, and now to play together is going to be a blast. See, people of the stature of Flaco Jiménez and Augie Meyers are easy to take for granted. They’ve been around for so long, and they’re always ready to help somebody else. Augie produced the Krayolas and played on our record, so did Flaco. But when you go see their gigs, you’re invariably blown away.”
In case there were doubts about the Krayola’s staying power and relevance, this year they came up with Long Leaf Pine (no smack gum), the ultimate Krayolas album, which includes a killer track: “Corrido: Twelve Heads in a Bag,” a Tigres del Norte-meet-Sam Peckinpah gem that filmmaker Robert Rodríguez should listen to immediately (and I’m dying to hear the live version with Louie Bustos and Al Gómez from the West Side Horns; yes, they will be there, too).
Augie Meyers, who has just released his first all-country album (simply titled Country) might meet again soon with friend and former Mavericks frontman Raúl Malo, who joins the extravaganza with his own brand-new CD: Lucky One (the closest thing to the Mavericks he’s ever recorded as a solo artist) and warns us:
“Before the end of the year, I’ll be recording my next album in San Antonio with Augie, Flaco, and my band.
“We had such a good time working on Augie’s record that I want my next record to be a very Texas-flavored album,” Malo said.
But the night’s highlight will be a sample of what’s coming in 2010, finally: the long-awaited reunion of Los Texas Tornados, 10 years after the death of Doug Sahm.
“I’m not playing with my band `at the Texas Music Extravaganza`, but will sit in with Flaco and Augie,” said Shawn Sahm (Doug’s son). All three, along with the other surviving members of the Tornados, played Sunday at New York’s Lincoln Center, and it seems the new TT album (including Freddy Fender’s last recordings) is finally ready to be released after endless complications.
“We’ll talk more about it later, but I will say this: The album is done,” said Sahm. “I’ve just mixed it, and we’re getting ready to release it and tour in 2010. But `on Thursday` we’re just going to have fun and rock the house ... and for a good cause.”