The U.S. economy might still be mired in a slump but if the turnout for the third annual Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival is any indication then the financial district in New York City is soaring back to life and roaring with the blues. And, for the second year in a row this nascent celebration of the roots of rock ‘n’ roll was graced by a living legend in the genre.
Los Lobos takes the stage with David Hidalgo and Steve Berlin.
The third annual Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival was a smashing success. Despite ominous weather forecasts for both days the free music festival spanning two days turned out just fine and was a truly charmed event. Held at Brookfield Place – and in the shadow of the recently completed One World Trade Center – the concerts featured king of the blues B.B. King and The James Hunter Six on Wednesday and hosted Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys and Alejandro Escovedo on Thursday.
Brookfield Place is located on the shore of the Hudson River. It is in the heart of New York’s financial center and their creative division known as Arts Brookfield is a strong supporter of the metropolitan arts scene including the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival which continues to expand as it celebrated year number three. The gathering also showcased local vendors who were on hand to supply food and drinks at the show.
Los Lobos features Cesar Rosas on vocals and guitar.
SoundPress.net attended the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival on July 11, 2013 and we were thrilled by the well-matched line-up of Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys and Alejandro Escovedo. The bands complemented each other culturally and musically. The camaraderie between them was clear at this concert and this show launched the debut of the trio’s Brotherhood Tour scheduled to hit select markets in 2013.
Los Lobos is the Spanish word for the wolves. Since 1973 this pack of players have been performing their unique blend of Tex-Mex rock spiked with blues, country, folk, R&B;, soul along with traditional Mexican and Spanish music. Los Lobos have won multiple Grammys and are known for their energetic live shows.
Like Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys are grounded in their heritage. They too have become masters of “Texican Rock n Roll” adding elements of county, Latin, rock, soul and Texas blues to their music.
Los Lonely Boys are a powerful trio that presented a crowd-pleasing set of the blues.
Alejandro Escovedo is also a mixer of styles. He grew up in a musical home exposed to jazz, Latin, Mexican and later country and rock. Escovedo is a man of emotions and his music ranges from the rage of punk to moving melodies. He too shares the Mexican/American experience through his songs.
“How’s everybody doing on this beautiful day? We come from Austin Texas, lets rock it,” greeted Alejandro. They opened with the lively “Castanets” with dueling guitars and harmonizing vocals added to the layers of the tune. It was followed by the rocking “Anchor”.
“A little warm out here, feels like Texas,” stated Escovedo as their high-powered set progressed. Alejandro dedicated the song “Sensitive Boys” to the club Maxwell’s in Hoboken as he recalled playing some of his first gigs in the region at the legendary club in the late 70’s. “Shame it’s closing,” he declared before playing the number with subtle pacing and expanded instrumentation.
Henry Garza is a guitar god of the highest order.
“Lets dance in the speedway,” said Alejandro as sax player Steve Berlin from Los Lobos joined them for a smoky blues tune with build ups. “Arizona” was vivid and visual with two guitars adding to the dynamics of the tale. David Hidalgo – one of the guitarists and drummer Louie Perez from Los Lobos – joined Escovedo’s band for a cover of “Like A Hurricane” – a song Alejandro called “the Canadian National Anthem”. The triple guitar assault and double drums enhanced the stormy tune as the group put their own spin on the Neil Young classic and closed Alejandro’s set on a dramatic note.
“Hey, hey, thank you. Que pasa?,” asked Henry Garza before they went into a blazing version of “Everybody Knows (Nobody’s Fool)”. The song showcased one of many sizzling guitar solos from Henry backed by the big and bold rhythms from brothers Jojo and Ringo.
Los Lonely Boys made it a point to blend the blues into their set demonstrating their diversity as a band. They also played with passion providing another key element of the blues. During one of their expansive jams they moved into “Oye Mamacita”. The tune has their signature sound of Texican rock with its sensuous innuendo – that you should grasp even if you do not understand Spanish. Steve with his sax joined the brothers adding accents to the tune.
Jojo Garza is an expressive and enthusiastic performer on bass guitar.
“It’s a dream come true to share the stage with Los Lobos,” declared the Garzas as they performed with some of the guys from the band and Alejandro who joined in on the jubilant jamming.
Together they performed “I’m A Man” from the Spencer Davis Group adding a lot of power to their intense interpretation. Jojo stepped up for a solo slapping the bass strings with his thumb. Next he was beside Henry who was playing a lead and Jojo strummed bass lines on the guitar with the brothers jamming in unison on one instrument for a totally hot moment on an already sultry night!
Los Lonely Boys closed their set with a heavenly version of “Heaven” adding extra elements to their hit including getting the crowd to scream along confirming that they were happy to be alive – now. We sure were glad to be alive at that moment enjoying great music at a grand location. As they departed the stage Ringo handed a pair of drum sticks to a young fan.
Alejandro Escovedo was named No Depression Magazine Artist of the Decade in 1998.
“How you doing? Thank you so much for being here,” spoke The Wolves. Los Lobos has a lot of players and thus a lot of sound. They are talented and tight as a group but individuals shined during their solos throughout the band’s engaging show.
Their sassy set was filled with spirited Spanish flavor tunes and moments of electric blues. Highlights included an energized “Evangeline”. During Los Lobos’ set Alejandro armed with an acoustic joined them and handled lead vocals. “The Rebel Kind” was rousing and “Rosalie” opened with delicate drumming and strumming. The piece was a rich pageantry of images and sounds along with sizzling guitar licks.
Next, Los Lonely Boys joined Los Lobos for a fabulous funky version of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”. The two bands added plenty of spice to the Motown hit with guitar solos dominating the mix and flowing into “Crossroads” with more rocking riffs propelled by powerful percussion. Another classic cover in the set was a beguiling “Bertha”.
Alejandro Escovedo and Sensitive Boy Ricky Ray Jackson on guitar.
Los Lobos and the concert closed with “La Bamba” a song that has become very much their own allowing ample opportunity for the wolves to strut their stuff.
The third incarnation of The Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival was a charming success with good weather and wonderful music. If you were unable to attend this year – have no fear as they are already planning number four. Also – Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys and Alejandro Escovedo are on tour together in 2013 so be on the lookout for the Brotherhood Tour.
Los Lobos: Louie Perez – Drums, Guitars, Percussion, Vocals; Steve Berlin – Saxophone, Percussion, Flute, Midsax, Harmonica, Melodica; Cesar Rosas – Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin; Conrad Lozano – Bass, Guitarron, Vocals; David Hidalgo – Vocals, Guitar, Accordion, Percussion, Bass, Keyboards, Melodica, Drums, Violin, Banjo; Enrique “Bugs” Gonzalez – Drums/Percussion
Los Lonely Boys: Henry Garza – Guitar, Vocals; Jojo Garza – Bass, Vocals; Ringo Garza -Drums, Vocals
Alejandro Escovedo and the Sensitive Boys: Alejandro Escovedo – Guitar/Vocals; Bobby Daniel – Bass/Vocals; Chris Searles – Drums/Percussion; Ricky Ray Jackson – Guitar/Pedal Steel; Karla Manzur – Vocals/Keyboard
The large crowd gathers at the 2013 Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival in the shadow of One World Trade Center.
Related Links: For more information on the LOWDOWN HUDSON BLUES FESTIVAL and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links – Los Lobos | Los Lonely Boys | Alejandro Escovedo | Lowdown Hudson blues Festival