A few months ago, Austin-based bandleader and all-around badass J.R. Gomez had an idea. He wanted to put together a Father’s Day celebration to honor Conjunto legends featuring family bands who are continuing their tradition and following in their famous fathers’ footsteps.
On Friday, June 14 at Austin’s OK Corral, Gomez gets his wish as Flavio Longoria y Los Conjunto Kingz, Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers and Rio Jordan will take the stage, along with his own band, J.R. Gomez y Los Conjunto Bandits.
The names and legacies of Valerio Longoria, Ruben Naranjo, and Steve Jordan are legendary in the Conjunto world and beyond. Each one had their own innovative style that changed the course of Conjunto (and by extension, Tejano) music forever, whether it be Longoria adding drums and thereby creating the modern Conjunto we all know, Naranjo creating one of the most beloved and elegantly simple styles of Conjunto music, or Jordan channeling the chakras of psychedelia into his accordion to create something no one else had ever heard before. And these are just a few examples of their contributions – each of these men deserves a book chronicling their careers, catalogs, and lives.
Each of the legacy bands scheduled to perform has remained faithful to their fathers’ styles and are considered top-tier Conjunto groups, heavily in demand for all kinds of events nationwide. To say their dads would be proud of them is an understatement.
While this particular lineup may be familiar to fans who attend Conjunto festivals all over the state, this is a remarkable lineup for OK Corral for several reasons. First, the south Austin club rarely presents more than one band in one evening, let alone four. Second, their bookings tend to favor Tejano artists more frequently than Conjunto. Third, this show has more of an educational/festival/showcase flavor to it than is normally presented there. I said all that to say, “this ain’t your average Friday night at OK Corral.”
But this show also has a special Father’s Day component for Gomez himself. In early 2018, J.R. left the Tejano world proper, where he had been an award-winning vocalist and accordionist for heavy hitters like Jay Perez, Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz, and A.B. Quintanilla’s Kumbia All-Starz, and started his own Conjunto. This new project and band has been a labor of love for him and has resulted in nearly every single weekend booked solid for almost a year and a half, as well as the release of his debut CD, Cervezas y Gritos. Despite all of that hard work and success, one of the things he’s proudest of is being able to work with his father, Lee Gomez Sr., who is a songwriter himself. In fact, Lee Sr. wrote the hit single “La Reina de Mis Amores,” found on Cervezas y Gritos. Look for more father and son original collaborations on the Bandits’ future albums.
Admission for this event is only $20 per person, which is a steal for four top-notch bands and a full night of music. For comparison, movie tickets are averaging $13 per person for something you’ll be able to see on video in the future…this show will be an evening to remember…just sayin’…
OK Corral is located at 629 W. Ben White Blvd on the southwest corner of South 1st and Highway 71/Ben White in south Austin. Show starts at 9pm, 21 and up are welcome.
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