Yesterday, Texas State University presented a show by conjunto greats Los Texmaniacs and Flaco Jiménez. Grammy winners Los Texmaniacs put on a two-hour show, with the six-time Grammy winning legend Flaco Jiménez joining them during the middle of the set. Three Texas State University music students also played with the group.
Los Texmaniacs are led by bajo sexto player Max Baca. His nephew Josh Baca is the accordion player and they were backed by a drummer and an electric bass player. This is a pretty typical arrangement for a conjunto or Norteño group. The Texas conjunto groups tend to include bits of other American styles like country, rock, and even Cajun music, moreso than Mexican Norteño groups. Polka music is a huge influence on conjunto and Norteño music.
The terms “Tejano” and “Tex-Mex” are very broad terms that cover many styles. Conjunto acts are included in that, but those broader terms also cover other styles.
I heard several classic country songs in yesterday’s set, like “Oh Lonesome Me,” “Together Again,” “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” and “Jambalaya.”
Flaco Jiménez is 82 and one of the most famous Texas accordion legends. San Antonio announced plans to build a ten-foot bronze statue of him. He has collaborated with pretty much everyone in every kind of music. He was in the Texas Tornados, and you’ve probably heard his collaboration with Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam on “Streets of Bakersfield.” He also recorded other songs with them.
Max Baca mentioned that he was seven years old when he first met Flaco Jiménez. The Texmaniacs are one of the best known conjunto bands now. Josh Baca also has his group called “Josh Baca and the Hot Tamales,” which combines conjunto with zydeco music.
There are lots of conjunto and other Tex-Mex bands in the part of Texas where I live, and as with the German polka bands at Wurstfest, most include some classic country songs.