The Arizona-based indie rock/alternative country/Tejano band Calexico plays eight or nine tunes off their ninth and latest studio album, “The Thread That Keeps Us,” as well as a bunch of older songs during its gig at The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company on June 13.
Calexico’s modus operandi is to tell stories through their music. “Storytelling is a great way to communicate,” explains vocalist/guitarist Joey Burns, who founded Calexico with drummer John Convertino. “There’s a message in our music, and it comes out through storytelling.”
The band’s latest tunes have messages about the desperate state of our planet and the political arena. There’s also a hint of optimism behind the frustration.
On the band’s website, Calexico describes “The Thread That Keeps Us” as an album that “endlessly explores the contrast between bright and dark, hope and fear.”
“The Thread That Keeps Us” was recorded at a studio in northern California and released in January. “We actually did a lot of writing in the studio,” Burns adds. “For me, being in northern California was somewhat of a homecoming since I grew up in southern California. It felt so good to be there. I definitely felt inspired to write.”
In recent years Calexico has been traveling to locations outside Arizona to record albums. They’ve gone to studios in Algiers, New Orleans and Mexico City, just to experience a new environment and get the creative juices flowing. Burns dreams of recording in places like L.A., New York and Turkey.
Calexico had its origins in 1990 when Burns, who was studying music at the University of California, Irvine, met up with Convertino, who was playing drums in Giant Sand, an alternative rock band that later moved to Tucson. Calexico made its first recording in 1995 under the band name Spoke. After the band signed with Quarterstick Records, the name was changed to Calexico.
The band’s second album, “The Black Light,” a concept album about the desert of Arizona and northern Mexico, was released in 1998 to critical acclaim. Calexico built their profile by touring as support acts for bands including Pavement, Dirty Three and Lambchop.
Joining Burns and Convertino on stage for the Santa Fe show are Martin Wenk, Jacob Valenzuela, Sergio Mendoza, Jairo Zavala Ruiz and Scott Colberg.