Calexico, the Tucson-based music collective that has long been a darling of public radio, has made it a habit of putting together a disc of live recordings after each tour. The group, known for its energy and musicianship on stage (for proof, check out this video clip of an instrumental from their Austin City Limits appearance on PBS last year), has now made these recordings available in digital form at the website of its label, Touch and Go Records.
The tracks go all the way back to their 1998-99 tour and provide a road map to the evolution of the group’s southwestern-culture-by-way-of-indie-rock sound. The sonic grab bag of mariachi-style trumpets, percussion, innovative guitar and keyboard work and literate songwriting make the recordings worth the download.
(As a techie side note, the more recent tour releases were mastered at the studios of KUAT, the public TV and radio station in Tucson, by sound engineer Jim Blackwood – who also works as morning host of another public station in Tucson, KXCI. Perhaps it’s true that public broadcasting is somehow connected to everything!)