The two biggest names hitting Durango stages this weekend arrive in town at very different places in their musical and personal lives.
On Saturday night, Austin rockers Los Lonely Boys will visit the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College before the band sets out on a national acoustic tour in support of the upcoming EP "1969."
None of the brothers - Henry, Jojo and Ringo Garza - was available to speak during the trip from Texas to Colorado, but they can be forgiven, as they're traveling on a bit of a tight schedule: The band returned from a Middle East tour in Iraq and Kuwait earlier this week, and it will take a logistical miracle to get them onstage in time for a full-blown plugged-in show Saturday, one of the last electric gigs before the acoustic tour starts in October.
Los Lonely Boys' blend of rock, blues and country-twinged Tejano prompted the band to coin its own description - call it Texican rock 'n' roll, and enjoy.
This weekend's show is sure to be special, as the trio will play songs from their previous releases "Heaven," "Los Lonely Boys," "Sacred" and "Forgiven," but also will play electric versions of the new "1969" material. Upcoming audiences won't be so lucky.
The "1969" tunes are a tribute to the 40th anniversary of the year, which included events such as Woodstock, the moon landing and the inauguration of President Richard Nixon. Los Lonely Boys cover The Beatles' "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues," Tony Joe White's "Polk Salad Annie" and Santana's "Evil Ways" on the new EP, and Saturday will mark one of the only chances to see the band do the tributes electrically.
"Peace, love and gracias to Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Tony Joe White, The Doors - some of the many musicians and songwriters who made 1969 a pathway for us to follow," guitarist Henry Garza said of the upcoming project.
Life on the road used to be the norm for Georgia singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins, but Sunday's show at the Abbey Theatre is a rare getaway for the man whose best-known song, "Lullaby," hit No. 1 on the pop charts in 1998. The former chart-topper and his wife, Kelly, welcomed their first son into the world a month ago, and the 41-year-old new father is adjusting to a new lifestyle.
"We thought we weren't going to have kids, and it's changing my outlook on how much to tour. I'm used to doing 200 dates a year, which is about 300 days on the road, but I don't know about that anymore," Mullins said from his Atlanta home Tuesday. He's playing two New Mexico dates before heading straight back home to help out around the house.
Family life also has delayed his recording schedule. He's working on a new CD that he intended to be wrapping up this month; instead, he won't even be in the studio until this winter.
"I just figured we'd make another record in August, which is right when my son was being born - I didn't have a clue," he said.
Mullins doesn't expect to ever relive the dizzying success that accompanies having the top song in America, but he made a conscious choice to remain a songwriter, not a hit-maker.
"That's always been my fear, to put out the same thing," he said.
"It happens to groups like Smashmouth, Coldplay or Sugar Ray - their popular sound never really changes even though it could because there's a lot of talent in those groups. It's probably why I'm not more commercially successful because I won't keep doing the same thing over and over and driving it into someone's brain."