GRAMMYs On The Road At Austin City Limits With Tyler Bryant And Mariachi El Bronx

Backstage with Tyler Bryant and Mariachi El Bronx at the 10th anniversary of Austin City Limits
  • Photo: Jay West/
    Tyler Bryant
  • Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
    Mariachi El Bronx's Matt Caughthran
October 10, 2011 -- 5:52 pm PDT

The Recording Academy Texas Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road At Austin City Limits Music Festival during the festival's 10th anniversary from Sept. 16–18 at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists including guitarist Tyler Bryant and Latin pop/rock outfit Mariachi El Bronx.

Bryant discussed the influence of social media and songwriting.

"I love it and I hate it," said Bryant of social media. "Part of me wishes that the only way you could hear artists was to go out to their shows. The upside to [social media] is you can really stay in touch with your fans and give them something they normally wouldn't get."

As a guitarist, Bryant has shared the stage with artists such as Aerosmith, Jeff Beck, Heart, B.B. King, and REO Speedwagon. His influences range from the Black Crowes and Jimi Hendrix to the Rolling Stones and Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. At age 15 he was the recipient of the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation's New Generation Award, which recognizes the most promising new artists in music. At age 17 Bryant moved from Honey Grove, Texas, to Nashville. He subsequently formed Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, featuring drummer Caleb Crosby, bassist Calvin Webster and guitarist Graham Whitford. Following his first showcase performance in Nashville, Bryant signed with Creative Artists Agency.

In March 2011 Bryant released an EP, My Radio, followed by From The Sandcastle in June. Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown are currently on tour with Jeff Beck with several dates scheduled throughout the United States and Canada through the beginning of November.

Mariachi El Bronx guitarist Joby J. Ford and trumpeter Brad Magers discussed musical influences, the response of the Latin community to their music, and songwriting.

"One of the hardest things to learn is to differentiate [between] Spanish [and] Mexican music," said Ford regarding songwriting. "You can't do both. You're either on one side or the other."

Mariachi El Bronx was formed in 2006 when the members of Los Angeles-based punk band the Bronx were asked to perform an acoustic set on a television show. Rather than perform a stripped down set, the band reinvented themselves and explored Latin sounds. They subsequently studied instructional videos on YouTube to learn various mariachi styles, including norteño, jarocho, huasteca, bolero, and corridos. The band worked on new material while the Bronx toured and released Mariachi El Bronx in 2009, produced by former Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila. A second self-titled album was released in 2011 featuring a collaboration with Latin GRAMMY-nominated group Mariachi Reyna De Los Angeles, and peaked in the Top 30 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart.

"People were surprised that our embrace of mariachi wasn't a joke," Ford has said. "Instead, being able to bounce back and forth between two musical styles we love and respect has proven the key to our longevity."

Mariachi El Bronx includes Matt Caughthran (vocals), Ford, Vince Hidalgo (guitarron), Ken Mochikoshi-Horne (jarana/guitar), Magers, Alfredo Ortiz (percussion), Ray Suen (violin), Karla Tovar (guitarron), and Jorma Vik (drums). The band has tour dates scheduled in the United States and overseas through December.

Come back to tomorrow for more exclusive backstage interviews from GRAMMYs On The Road At Austin City Limits.

Click on the "GRAMMYs On The Road At Austin City Limits" tag below for links to other GRAMMY News stories in this series.

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