Los Lobos – Native Sons


Los Lobos - Native Sons

Los Lobos – Native Sons
Format: CD – Vinyl – Digital
Label: New West Records – PIAS
Release: 2021
Release date: July 30, 2021



Los Lobos will return with ‘Native Sons’ on July 30th via New West Records. The 13-song set was produced by Los Lobos in East Los Angeles and finds the band mapping their musical DNA as a kaleidoscopic selection of tribute songs from their homeland, ultimately creating a crucial snapshot of L.A.’s musical heritage.

Having formed in 1973 and gotten their start playing spirited renditions of Mexican folk music at parties and in restaurants, Los Lobos are no strangers to reinterpretation (and if you’ve ever been to one of their legendary live shows, you already know that).

These brothers have always held a deep appreciation for diverse music, and they love pulling out old gems and making them shine like new. 

photo by: Piero F. Giunti

For all the trailblazing musical acts who’ve emerged from Los Angeles, very few embody the city’s wildly eclectic spirit more wholeheartedly than Los Lobos.

Over the last five decades, the East L.A.-bred band has made an indelible mark on music history by exploring an enormous diversity of genres—rock-and-roll and R&B, surf music and soul, mariachi and música norteña, punk rock and country—and building a boldly unpredictable sound all their own. 

In a nod to their neighborhood, ‘Native Sons’ opens with the wide-eyed frenzy of Love Special Delivery by Thee Midniters, an East L.A. garage band and one of the first Chicano rock groups to ever score a major hit in the U.S. From there, it features favorites and deep cuts by other Los Angeles luminaries such as the Beach Boys, WAR, Buffalo Springfield, Jackson Browne, and more.

In a particularly meaningful moment for the band, ‘Native Sons’ includes a fiery cover of “Flat Top Joint” by the Blasters, the seminal L.A. roots-rock band who helped pave the way for their signing to Slash Records in the early ’80s (and whom counted Steve Berlin as a member before his joining Los Lobos).

The album’s title track is its sole original song, a loving homage to Los Angeles that sounds right at home amid so many classic tracks. 

Today, Variety has premiered Love Special Delivery by Thee Midniters as well as Sail On, Sailor by the Beach Boys. Of Love Special Delivery, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo says “We grew up on Thee Midniters and felt like they were representing us, so their music means a lot.”

Sail On, Sailor, an early-70s track originally sung by longtime Los Lobos friend Blondie Chaplin, was one that Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin says “seemed like it would be easy, but once we broke the eggshell it revealed itself to be a lot more complex,” adding “The genius of so many of these records is all the layers that meld together in a way that isn’t very obvious at first.” Hear Love Special Delivery and Sail On, Sailor HERE:

As with all of their catalogue, ‘Native Sons’ reveals Los Lobos’ ability to merge genres and styles with both sophistication and playful spontaneity, an element that’s perfectly reflected in the album’s unbridled joy.

“I played it for a friend and his first response was that it’s a party record—which sounds right to me,” says Hidalgo. Beyond that undeniably feel-good quality, ‘Native Sons’ essentially serves as a love letter to Los Angeles and the endless possibilities to be found when all boundaries are shattered.

“I couldn’t say there’s a common thread for all these artists, but in a way that’s exactly what makes L.A. great,” says Berlin. “You’ve got R&B and punk rock and rock-and-roll and folk, and somehow it exists together in this one weird city that we all call home.”

Quickly finding their footing in L.A.’s punk/college-rock scene, Los Lobos began sharing bills with bands like Public Image Ltd. and the Circle Jerks.

After making their major-label debut with 1984’s critically lauded ‘How Will the Wolf Survive?,’ they went on to achieve such triumphs as contributing a smash-hit cover of Ritchie Valens’s signature song La Bamba to the 1987 biopic of the same name, winning three Grammy Awards, collaborating with the likes of Elvis Costello and Ry Cooder, and earning massive worldwide critical acclaim. 

01. Love Special Delivery
02. Misery
03. Bluebird/For What It’s Worth
04. Los Chucos Suaves
05. Jamaica Say You Will
06. Never No More
07. Native Son
08. Dichoso
09. Farmer John
10. Sail On, Sailor
11. The World Is A Ghetto
12. Flat Top Joint
13. Where Lovers Go

David Hidalgo (vocals, guitars)
Louie Pérez, Jr. (vocals, guitars)
Cesar Rosas (vocals, guitars, bass, Hammond B3 organ)
Conrad Lozano(vocals, bass)
Steve Berlin (saxes, midisax, keyboards)

BeNeLux Tourdata:

March 31, 2022 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso
April 1, 2022 – Brugge, Belgium – Stadsschouwburg Brugge 
April 2, 2022 – Leuven, Belgium – Het Depot 
April 3, 2022 – Antwerp, Belgium – De Roma 

Hits: 10