BIFA: Indie rock band Calexico performs in Breckenridge
For a band that has been touring for decades, evolving musically is a given. Indie rock band Calexico is one of those bands that has seen years of collaboration with different musicians, recorded more than a handful of albums and boast a number of accolades and tours under their belt. Joey Burns and John Convertino, the founding and core members of the band, have been playing together since meeting in 1990, working to embrace a multitude of diverse styles and variety in instrumentation.
With all of their history as Calexico, it’s the songwriting the Convertino says has evolved the most.
“Joey works really hard on the lyrics and has come up with some really thought-provoking and interesting songs,” the drummer said. “The more instinctual parts of the music have always been there — probably the main reason why we started the whole thing.”
Calexico will perform on Wednesday, Aug. 17 as part of Breckenridge International Festival of Arts. The show will take place at the Riverwalk Center, and tickets can be purchased at breckcreate.org for $30 advance, or $35 day-of at the Riverwalk Center.
EDGE OF THE SUN
For Calexico’s newest album, released in 2015, the band traveled to Mexico City for inspiration. A band that often collaborates with other musicians — such as its work for a 2005 release of “In the Reins” and following tour with folk band Iron & Wine — this album features a guest artist on most every song. It includes appearances by Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses, Nick Urata from Devotchka, Carla Morrison, Gaby Moreno, Amparo Sanchez and Neko Case.
“There is a lot going on with ‘Edge of the Sun,’ I think it is the most diverse record we have ever done,” Convertino said. “That is why you need to spend some time with it, which is hard to do with the quick attention span, and turn around of music these days.”
Diverse is the word in a review of the album by Tom Moon on NPR’s website — “The sources of inspiration, evident in various ratios at various times during this variously populated band’s run, are usually rendered in reviews as an equation involving mariachi, tequila, Steinbeck, narco ballads, Morricone, norteño, Hank Williams, border wars, Barbara Kingsolver, the kitsch wing of indie rock, Dylan circa John Wesley Harding, psychedelic surf of the ‘60s, Byrds-y high harmonies and baritone guitars.”
Convertino himself brings a love of classical music and jazz from the ’50s and ’60s. He is also influenced by soul and Latin music of the same era, and lots of country, rock and pop from all time periods, he said.
For the new album, Mexico City gave them a space to work outside of home with hopes of a fresh creative perspective in a new environment.
“We did some sightseeing, which was amazing, but really we worked most of the time,” Convertino said. “It’s a beautiful and crazy place with pockets of serenity amongst all the chaos.”
With more than 20 years of touring and recording under their belt, he said there have been plenty of “peaks and valleys” for the Tucson, Arizona, band. With the evolution of digital music, he attributes some of their current success to an older fan base that still purchases physical albums.
“We have been really lucky, I think it’s in part because our audience is older, from the generation of buying CD’s and LP’s, a lot of them still do that, not as many, but enough for us to keep going,” he said.
One of the “peaks” of his career was their work on “Feast of Wire,” cited in reviews as being similar to their new album, released in 2003.
“We had been playing with Mariachi Luz da Luna for a few years, but things really came together when we toured Europe with them,” he said. “It was such a treat every night to go through our set and halfway (through) bring them on, it just took the evening to another place.”
With everything the band has worked for, Convertino said one of their biggest accomplishments is sticking around to allow a second generation to enjoy Calexico’s music.
“I think overall we try to do good with our band, send a positive message of love and community,” he said.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.