Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Son-shine

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Fans of the popular Latin pop music group Los Lobos know that the term “pop music” has never adequately described their soulful sound or their smooth, hypnotic rhythms. There has always been something considerably deeper about the group’s music than most shallow music labels can define about them or any other group of substance.

On Mi Son (My Song), a beautiful album where the Los Lobos band members (Cesar Rosas, David Hidalgo, Steve Berlin, Conrad Lozano and Louie Perez) serve essentially as musical collaborators and backup band for Rick Trevino, the group returns to the roots of its sound. All the songs except for one are sung by Trevino in Spanish, and there is little evidence that this was done with any hopes of crossover appeal — which is its greatest appeal. Fans of both Trevino and Los Lobos should be forewarned that this is a traditional Latin music CD of the sort that features both sultry ballads and more up-tempo rhythmic numbers that are performed with impeccable musicianship and a warmth of feeling that can only come from conviction and love.

Trevino is known primarily as one of the first popular Hispanic country music singers to hit the scene since Freddy Fender and Johnny Rodriguez from the ’70s, but you wouldn’t know that on this album until the final cut, “Long Goodbye,” the only song in English. Similarly, there is little trace of the more updated sound of the more familiar Los Lobos tunes that managed to reach a larger audience through radio, MTV and other televised appearances.

Who knows if they will decide to ever collaborate on a similar follow-up CD? My guess would be that it’s doubtful, but at least for this once it’s nice to hear two such exceptionally talented acts put their skills together and pay their respects to the source.

Keith A. Owens is a Detroit-based freelance writer and musician. E-mail him at letters@metrotimes.com.

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