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Honky-tonk blends with, yes, soul
The Hacienda Brothers will bring their lively sound to the Riverhawk fest.
By LOGAN NEILL, Times Staff Writer
Published November 2, 2007
The Hacienda Brothers, whose main men are Dave Gonzalez and Chris Gaffney, were nominated for Group of the Year at this year's Americana Music Association Honors & Awards.
SPRING LAKE - Alternative-country music veteran Chris Gaffney describes his partnership with roots rock visionary Dave Gonzalez as a fortuitous musical union that, from the outside looking in, never should have worked.
"I don't think either one of us thought the music would be as good as it's been," Gaffney said by phone recently. "Maybe we just got lucky."
Considering their musical backgrounds, that's probably true to a degree.
But fans of the Gaffney-Gonzalez cooperative known as the Hacienda Brothers would agree that there's an irresistible magic created when two guys work from opposite sides of the same street.
For Gaffney, a dyed-in-the-wool fan of pre-1960s honky-tonk, it's the wail of a lonesome pedal steel guitar. For Gonzalez, who worships classic soul and R&B, it's the sweet blend of a Muscle Shoals horn section.
Somehow, Gaffney said, a connection can be made somewhere in the middle.
"Having those influences constantly throughout our careers is what probably inspired us to want to work together," Gaffney said of the group that will headline Nov. 9 at the Riverhawk Music Festival at the Sertoma Youth Ranch.
"I think it comes down to a deep desire of wanting to stretch beyond those music boundaries we sort of set for ourselves."
Gaffney, a former and occasionally still sideman for punk-abilly king Dave Alvin, had already built a respectable solo career as a singer-songwriter in the late 1980s when he met Gonzalez, former frontman of the California rockabilly/jump blues trio the Paladins.
Though they would occasionally run into each other at engagements, the two didn't seriously consider collaborating until they met again at a mutual friend's birthday party in 2003.
It took a late-night jam session to make them both realize they had a lot of common musical ground, Gaffney said. Later, with the help of famed R&B songwriter and producer Dan Penn, Gaffney and Gonzalez penned most of the tunes that would eventually appear on the Hacienda Brothers' debut album.
Since then, the band, which includes Dave Burzansky (steel guitar) Dale Daniel (drums) and Hank Maninger (bass), has built a large and loyal following.
Its significance in the alternative and roots music world was confirmed with the band's nomination for Group of the Year at this year's Americana Music Association Honors & Awards.
For Gaffney, who spoke while en route this week to the awards ceremony in Nashville, Tenn., the honor was one he never expected so soon.
"I though that was the kind of stuff that happens after you've been at it for a while," he deadpanned. "Whatever happens, we plan to stick around."
The sixth annual festival runs from Thursday through Nov. 11 at the Sertoma Youth Ranch, south of Spring Lake on Myers Road. Weekend adult tickets are $120 at the gate. Daily adult admission is $15 to $50. Youth ticket packages are available for ages 13 to 17. Kids 12 and younger are admitted free. Camping hookups are available for an extra fee. For tickets and more information, call (863) 984-8445 or visitlindentertainment.com.