A new songwriting process leads to fresh inspiration for the Texican trio

JoJo Garza’s got a good excuse for not hearing his phone ring. As often happens when he has tour downtime with brothers Henry and Ringo Garza, he takes the opportunity to jam. That is, after all, how Los Lonely Boys’ eighth studio album Revelation first poked its head into the world.

“Songs are born on the road—they just come,” JoJo says. “We’ve always had the belief that things were revealed to us, especially realizing the gifts we have to play. The music is such a blessing. It’s something only a few select people have.”

The Garza brothers—who began playing music with their father in Texas when they were kids before moving to Nashville to become a Grammy-winning trio—are now counting their blessings even more. They had a scare last February when Henry fell off the stage and suffered serious back injuries that put him out of commission for several months. Fortunately most of Revelation was already recorded, but the incident added a layer of depth and irony to the title. “It puts everything into perspective,” JoJo says. “It was a big turning point in our lives.”

While Henry is still recovering, the magic that initially brought out the first atoms of Revelation’s 12 tracks goes back to subconscious songwriting. “It’s like you’re having a dream and you’re able to wake up and remember that rhythm,” JoJo says. “Suddenly you’re working on it at 2 in the morning. That happened a lot.”

It helped the music come faster and more seamlessly when the brothers changed up their songwriting process: Each wrote separate tracks of the songs before getting together to refine and flesh them out. “It was really just to get some songs done,” says JoJo. “From this process what we learned is that you get a lot done. They did a little bit of writing, I wrote some, and a few other cats came in.”

Some of the cats on Revelation include Radney Foster, Matthew Gerrard, David Quiñones, George Pajon Jr., Keith Harris and Raúl Pacheco. The variety of each artist’s background is apparent in the record’s changing flavors of everything from reggae to heavy rock to blues.

“There’s a lot of jamming going on,” JoJo says. “We’re always trying to stay positive with what we sing about—moving forward and fighting through, giving it the best while you’re here. Another big focus was not to turn it into what people think of as a Los Lonely Boys tune. It’s not an identity crisis. It’s just to show people we’re not just Los Lonely Boys.”

–Shauna Farnell

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