Few groups have embodied the impossible depth of American music as much as Los Lobos, the East L.A. roots-rock institution. From its inception in 1973, the group has balanced tradition with experimentation, initially serving as an in-demand band at Mexican weddings while later emerging as beloved outliers on the LA punk scene.
What has driven and buoyed the group for five decades is a pure and total devotion to the music, a blend of norteño, soul, country, rockabilly, Chicano rock, mariachi, and blues. The group has always been able to immerse itself within a specific tradition or deliver a potent set drawn from disparate sources.
Los Lobos has always situated its virtuosity within passionate performances, flexing the camaraderie and life-long bonds of guitarists David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas, bassist Conrad Lonzano, drummer Louie Pérez, and saxophonist Steve Berlin to make the eclectic repertoire feel totally natural. The hothouse atmosphere that Bob Dylan & the Band conjured for The Basement Tapes has been a guiding force for the quintet’s entire history.
On its most recent album Native Sons (2021) they inventively arranged an eclectic collection of covers of songs and sounds from Los Angeles. The record simultaneously celebrates the band’s easy versatility—traversing salsa, hard rock, psychedelic soul, garage rock, Laurel Canyon pop, and more—but also paints a vast portrait of its musical sources and inspiration. The vocal blend of Hidalgo’s soulful, malleable croon and Rosas’ punchy, hectoring cool allows the band to sound at home in any style, nailing its essence while bringing something unique to the table.