My main discovery of the 2009 Thirsty Ear Festival was a local -- well, Albuquerque -- band Felix y Los Gatos. Like a younger, hungrier Los Lobos, they rock out on R&B, Mexican songs, a little country (wild version of Merle Haggard's "Working Man Blues"), a little zydeco. Felix plays guitar while his pal David Barclay plays accordion. Yesterday they also had a sax player and Santa Fe favorite Pete Amaral on drums.
And Felix's mom was in the audience! How cool is that?
The group had been scheduled for the main stage, but a late afternoon hail storm caused the set to be moved to the hotel. (A wise move by the festival honchos. There was another rain during the performance.)
What a party! My only criticism is that they don't really know how to end a song. Their finale, an improvised version of the Cajun classic "My Toot Toot" was loads of fun -- but I would have ended it like 15 minutes earlier.
Felix and the cats play in Santa Fe a lot. According to their MySpace (follow that link and check out their music), they will be doing Santa Fe Bandstand on July 7.
I also caught a couple of good local soul bands at Thirsty Ear Sunday - Soulman Sam & The Soul Explosion and Tone & Co. Both are good, but they both are basically cover bands. Surely among the musicians in these bands there are some songwriters.