When Doug Sahm passed away unexpectedly in 1999, it left a void in Texas Music for those bands that dipped into the sensibilities of the Rio Grande Valley as equally and liberally as they did the Hill Country heavens described by Willie, Waylon and the boys. In 2006, the Tejas Brothers emerged as a band that could fill that void.
Led by versatile frontman Dave Perez, the Tejas Brothers sprung from jam sessions in Fort Worth. These informal gatherings lend a cool quality to the Tejas Brothers’ music that is still evident five years later.
That music treads common ground with The Derailers and 1100 Springs. The songs are your standard honky-tonk fare…drinking, cheating, loving, and having a good time. Perez does not have a huge vocal range, but that does not stop him from doing a marvelous job of conveying whatever emotion the song calls for.
Many times throughout this collection of songs, Perez’s vocals blend effortlessly with that of his bandmates. Bassist John Garza, guitarist Lex Cochran and drummer Danny Cochran all provide excellent backing vocals. The collection of voices creates a very cool harmony style that is reminiscent of Buck Owens and Don Rich at the height of their Bakersfield creativity.
This vocal styling is evident right out of the gate with the lead-off track “Say It Again”. On this song, Perez is pleading with his lover to boisterously profess her love for him loud enough for his good-timing buddies to hear her over the standard wail of the local honky-tonk.
In addition to the vocal strengths, these guys are adept with their instruments too. Lex Cochran’s electric guitar is plucked with the type of subtle urgency that Haggard saved for his best barroom anthems and Perez isn’t afraid to let his accordion walk the melody to the front of the songs (“Your Baby, My Honey” and “The Castle”).
The voices, instruments and songwriting mesh best on “This Little Feeling” as all the elements come together to capture the essence of what the Tejas Brothers do best in a mere 3 minutes 24 seconds.
While the Tejas Brothers are still a band that must been seen live to be truly and fully appreciated, Rich Man does as good of job as any studio recordings could to capture the energy, vibe and enthusiasm that make the Tejas Brothers special.