249

Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Los Lobos: Tin Can Trust Prolificity ain't all it's cracked up to be. With but a dozen studio releases in three decades, Los Lobos' discography may be small, but combines substance and style. Since the breakthrough How Will the Wolf Survive? (Slash, 1984) and massive radio hit—a re-visioning of Richie Valens' classic "La Bamba," from the 1987 bio-pic of the same name—Los Lobos has been mining a distinctive and unfailingly honest nexus of roots and rock. They may not sell as many records as Eminem, but with each new release—the last being, ignoring the sidestep Los Lobos Goes Disney (DisneySound, 2009), the very fine The Town and the City (Hollywood Records, 2006)—Los Lobos continues to prove its mettle at combining resonant song writing, visceral, near-archetypal grooves, and the kind of relaxed but unfailingly committed delivery that comes from a chemistry honed, for two-thirds of the group, over nearly four decades.

It's inevitable that subsequent albums are measured against Kiko (Slash, 1992), but Tin Can Trust comes closest to matching, if not eclipsing, that relatively early high watermark. The group's near-unerring consistency speaks to the winning writing team of guitarist/vocalist David Hidalgo and guitarist/drummer/vocalist Louie Pérez, who co-wrote six of Tin Can Trust's eleven tracks, but also to their shared chemistry with guitarist/vocalist Cesar Rosas (responsible for the more ethnically direct cumbia "Yo Canto" and norteño "Mujer Ingrata"), and bassist/vocalist Conrad Lozano—not to mention saxophonist/keyboardist Steve Berlin, as crucial to the group's collective sound and history as any of his co-founding brethren since joining in 1984. Relative newcomer Cougar Estrada (drums) joined the group for Good Morning Aztlán (Cutting Edge, 2002), Los Lobos' return to high form after two small dips, the more sonically adventurous Colossal Head (Warner Bros., 1996) and This Time (Hollywood, 1999), which deflected from the group's inestimable strengths.

Were it not for one minor misstep, Tin Can Trust would match Kiko's breadth and depth. With Rosas co-composing the near-anthemic "All My Bridges Burning" with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, the inclusion of the Dead's "West L.A. Fadeaway" might seem like an obvious choice, but as grungily funky as the blues-based tune is, it simply doesn't match up with the rest of Tin Can Trust's writing, ranging from the folk-driven "Burn It Down" and breezily optimistic "On Main Street" to the plaintive "Jupiter or the Moon" and Latin-tinged instrumental, "Do the Murray"—three-and-a-half minutes of searing, sustaining guitar work that's vintage Los Lobos. Lyrically, Tin Can Trust is as direct and poetic as anything the group has done. A love song at its core, the title track is also an indictment of American poverty, while the closing "27 Spanishes," with its garage band vibe, is an ambitious history lesson in four-and-a-half minutes and 150 words.

Filled with the kind of vintage guitar sounds that have positioned the group alongside artists like Ry Cooder as archivists with a modernistic bent, Tin Can Trust continues Los Lobos' recently renewed upward trajectory; eleven songs that, timeless and of their time, represent one of its best collections yet.


Track Listing: Burn It Down; On Main Street; Yo Canto; Tin Can Trust; Jupiter or the Moon; Do the Murray; All My Bridges Burning; West L.A. Fadeaway; The Lady and the Rose; Mujer Ingrata; 27 Spanishes.

Personnel: David Hidalgo: guitar, violin, accordion, percussion, vocals; Cesar Rosas: guitar, vocals; Louie Pérez: guitar, drums, vocals, Conrad Lozano: bass, vocals; Steve Berlin: saxophones, keyboards; Cougar Estrada: drums, percussion; Susan Tedeschi: backing vocals (1); Rev. Charles Williams: keyboards (3, 7).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Shout! Factory


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "That's What She Said..." CD/LP/Track Review That's What She Said...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "The Stone House" CD/LP/Track Review The Stone House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Dare To Be" CD/LP/Track Review Dare To Be
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "First Set" CD/LP/Track Review First Set
by Jerome Wilson
Published: February 6, 2017
Read "Live in 1967 Volume Two" CD/LP/Track Review Live in 1967 Volume Two
by Doug Collette
Published: May 28, 2016
Read "Crystal Moth" CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Moth
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 1, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!