"Los Lonely Boys"

Or Music/Epic

The Tex-Mex combo known as Los Lonely Boys is pure family-values entertainment. Three brothers who grew up in the music biz -- backing their dad, Ringo Garza Sr., who in turn started in a sibling act -- Henry, JoJo and Ringo Garza play a generation-spanning assortment of Latin-flavored blues, soul, country and roots rock, suitable for roadhouses, street fairs or church picnics. On their self-titled debut, which began last year on a little label and was reissued in March by a major, the trio's most up-to-date inspiration is Carlos Santana, whose psychedelic Latin-rock colors frontman Henry's wilder forays.

A versatile, disciplined guitarist, Henry only occasionally slips into guitar-god mode. He subordinates his style to his songs, alternating between traditional Spanish-style finger picking and slick, precise playing worthy of a Motown or Nashville session player. Too bad the Boys didn't have access to some of those hit factories' songwriters. Such strutting numbers as "Nobody Else" boast insinuating tunes, but the lyrics -- at least the ones in English -- are mere placeholders. One song claims to be about "Real Emotions," but on "Los Lonely Boys," it's the chops that are real.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Friday at the 9:30 club with Nina Camps. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Los Lonely Boys, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8125. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)

It's a family affair for Los Lonely Boys: brothers JoJo, left, Henry and Ringo Garza.