We sat in on a soundcheck at the Aladdin Theater with Calexico, the veteran band from Tucson led by Joey Burns and John Convertino, as they played from their seventh and latest release, Algiers.
It’s been 15 years since Joey Burns and John Convertino launched Calexico after first playing together in Howe Gelb’s Giant Sand. Named for a small town on the Mexican-American border, Calexico’s very name has always suggested the dusty, Southwestern soundscapes for which they’ve become known. While it’s perhaps that sound that remains the filter through which all things pass, they’ve also expanded their palette over the years to include Cuban, Afro-Peruvian and Portuguese sounds, among others on the Latin continuum, as well as classic country and jazz. Their latest release, Algiers, found them relocating to New Orleans for its recording, that most European of American cities managing in some ways to work its way into the record’s nooks and crannies.
We talked with Burns and got a set of music from the band before their recent performance at the Aladdin Theater in Portland.