Review – The Last Bandoleros’ “Where Do You Go?”

The Last Bandoleros Where Do You Go

Tejano music, or more commonly referred to as Tex-Mex music, has a long and rich history stretching all the way back to the turn of the 20th century. Of course it has also made an impact on the history of country music, where it really started to influence the genre starting in the 1950s and 1960s. This was back when it was still called country and western. It was Texas where it primarily influenced country artists, as the dancing for country and western in Texas has the same style as the polka and waltzes that originated from Europe that ultimately helped shape Tex-Mex music.

Fast forward to today and Tex-Mex is gone from popular country music in both Nashville and Texas. Really the only notable groups to have a Tex-Mex influence on their music in country and Americana are The Mavericks, Los Lobos and Calexico. That is until Warner Music Nashville recently signed a new band called The Last Bandoleros, a Tex-Mex band out of San Antonio. The group is made up of Diego Navaira (vocals & bass), Jerry Fuentes (vocals & guitar) and Derek James (guitar & vocals). They’re also joined by a button accordionist. They self-describe their music as one part Tex-Mex, one part Brit-Pop and two parts country and rock. Navaira himself comes from a musical family, as his father is the late great Tejano artist Emilio Navaira (who was a great influence in helping connect Tejano music and country music). They’ve just released their debut single for Warner to country radio titled “Where Do You Go?” and I have to say I’m immediately intrigued on what they can bring to the table.

“Where Do You Go?” is an upbeat tune you’ll instantly be tapping your toes along with as you listen to it. The song itself is a simple heartbreak song about a man who goes out on the town with his woman who leaves him after he’s had enough to drink to not realize she’s left him. While the songwriting doesn’t have a lot of meat to it, it’s not supposed to because this song relies on its catchy instrumentation to be the meat of the song. And this really works well. The aforementioned accordion is there throughout the song and has some really nice solo parts in the bridge to give the song a decidedly different feel from anything else you’ve heard on country radio recently. When was the last time you can say you heard an accordion at country radio? I would guess The Mavericks in the 90s. The group also does a great job harmonizing, another element that has been missing from group songs at country radio.

I think The Last Bandoleros are a group worth watching after hearing “Where Do You Go?” I think it would be pretty cool to have a Tex-Mex based group have a regular presence at country radio if they would catch on. A lot of people aren’t familiar with Tex-Mex, but I think would enjoy it if they gave it a chance. It’s not only usually upbeat and fun, but a call back to the earlier days of country music. Anyone that is a fan of The Mavericks I think would enjoy The Last Bandoleros. Think of this group as a younger version of The Mavericks. Of course they have a way to go before they can put themselves in the same league as an iconic band like The Mavericks. “Where Do You Go?” is a solid start for this upstart band and I’m intrigued to hear more from them.

Grade: 7/10

Written by: Jerry Fuentes, Emilio Navaira, Derek James and Diego Navaira

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9 thoughts on “Review – The Last Bandoleros’ “Where Do You Go?”

  1. So that’s what that instrument that was throughout the song. I have to say this is a really different style of music for mainstream country music, but it is very intriguing and very catchy.

    Totally unrelated and sorry for asking this, can you please review new female trio Runaway June’s debut single “Lipstick” it kind of has a Wreckers/Maddie & Tae feel to it.

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  2. Yeah, I really enjoyed this as well. I doubt it will do much on the charts but it’s a very refreshing sound to hear. I love the Mavericks so I’m not surprised I like this. I’m looking forward to hearing more from these guys.

    For me, light 8/10

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  3. Emilio Navaira died 5/16/2016 (heart attack). The Grammy award winner was known as Emilio. Capitol Nashville signed him in the mid 90’s. “It’s Not The End Of The World” was his biggest single hit (Top 30) in 1995. His first country album (“Life Is Good”) reached the Top 20 the same year. He released a couple of more country singles & 2nd album. After his country career was pretty much over he returned to Tejano (late 90’s) & won two grammys. Great voice & fans of 90’s mainstream country should listen to the albums.
    “I know it’s not the end of the world, but it’s a damn good start.”

    “I can’t wait to give you something good / bye, bye, bye /../ my, my, my /…/ try, try, try /…/ why, why, why, where do you go?” Maybe next time guys. (5/10)

    About Runaway June: a female trio, Post Monroe (with Whitney Duncan) a female trio, Southern Halo (sisters) a trio, Farewell Angelina a female-only group, The Joseph Sisters a trio, Runaway Angel a trio from canada, the McClymonts from down under…a (not-so-)new trend?
    Remember the Forester Sisters, the Girls Next Door, (Jennifer McCarter &) the McCarters, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, Wild Rose, Evangeline, SHeDaisy, Carter’s Chord, Coldwater Jane, Stealing Angels, Kennedy Rose, The Jenkins, The JaneDear girls, Jypsi, The Kinleys & the Burch Sisters with one of the greatest country songs of all times: “Everytime You Go Outside I Hope It Rains”

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    • Outside of mentioning Runaway June as a female trio and it as a trend which it really isn’t when Runaway June is the only one who is signed to a major label so their the only ones who might have any long lasting success. A trend is usually when major label recod executives sign acts to target a current popular sound.

      Anyway, I imagine people hear would like Runaway June as they sound similar to The Wreckers and best of all their debut single has apparently dobro and fiddle.

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  4. “…when Runaway June is the only one who is signed to a major label so their the only ones who might have any long lasting success. A trend is usually when major label recod executives sign acts to target a current popular sound.”

    You don’t need to teach me what a trend is.
    So a trend depends on a label executive & a sound? Sure.
    Only artists signed to a major will have a long shelf-life or can be successful in the long run? Sure.
    Black River Entertainment is the Kelsea Ballerini label. Black River is an independent label. She might NOT “have any long lasting success.” (Since she is not signed to a major label). She might end as part of a female trio, signed to an independent label with some success on the secondary market. I wish her all the best.

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  5. “Anyway, I imagine people hear would like Runaway June as they sound similar to The Wreckers and best of all their debut single has apparently dobro and fiddle.”

    So Runaway June are a clone of the Wreckers? That is what country music needs now. More clones. But clones with “dobro and fiddle”.

    “…when Runaway June is the only one who is signed to a major label so their the only ones who might have any long lasting success.”

    What a disrespect for all the hard working people in the independent music industry! Artists, songwriter, musicians, promoter, record company folks…

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    • I didn’t say clone anywhere in that statement to describe Runaway June. What I meant is their sound is similar too. Kind of like a Cole Swindell/Luke Bryan or Maddie & Tae/Dixie Chicks. There is obvious similarities and sound like modern version of original artists but each have their own unique idenity.

      I didn’t mean to disrespect to independent artists or industry, and if I did Josh or anybody here, I apologize. My point was is that in most cases, mainstream country radio is the main way for most new artists to potentially become popular (obvious exceptions Chris Stapleton, Kane Brown, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell), and since Runaway June is on the only label with any real radio pull and female groups aren’t popular as it is, more than likely Runaway June will be the most successful.

      I mean absolutely no disrespect at all to any of those female trios or any artist whatsoever. I absolutely appreciate and respect independent acts as they work hard and are extremely passionate about what they do, and I respect that completely. I’m just more of a mainstream guy.

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      • I was angry. But i can understand your point. Mainstream country or Nashville (mayor) label country is one universe. A small independent label will be lucky to have one or two artists on the “Music Row Breakout Chart”. A different world with different goals.

        About female artists/groups: take the McClymonts. Signed to Universal Australia the sisters are stars down under. Winning “Golden Guitars” & “ARIA”-awards (& hosting award shows). Reaching #1 with singles & albums. The “Here’s To You & I”-album spend 52+ weeks on the Australian country album charts (Top 40).
        Signed to Universal in 2006 the McClymonts had a special concert back in January 2016 to celebrate the 10 years. The concert took place in Tamworth sponsored by Toyota. Tamworth is “the place to be” in australian country music. The McClymonts are stars & mainstream down under.
        Signed to an independent US label (Executive Music Group) the trio reached the Billboard country album charts in 2010 with the “Chaos & Bright Lights” album (#73). The trio worked as hard as any other act to reach the charts. Without a Nashville mayor label bonus or a “star” bonus.
        Mainstream (mayor label) Nashville is a big part of country music. But there are more parts (worldwide).

        I like the Runaway June single. But i prefer Post Monroe. Whitney Duncan is a well-known name, one of the other members worked for “Starstruck Entertainment”. The EP is co-produced by Lady A’s Dave Haywood. The trio is managed by Kelli Haywood (worked for Starstruck & Warner Nashville). The first single is #40 on the “Music Row Breakout Chart” (after six weeks). Other acts started on an independent label & signed a mayor label contract. I have a certain feeling about the future of Post Monroe.

        Billboard Country Update – 7/5/2016:
        Billboard Country Airplay – Runaway June – “Lipstick” – #50 (same place, with a bullet)
        Billboard Top Country Albums – Chris Stapleton – “Traveller” – #1 (up one place, after 61 weeks)

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