REVERB: Los Volcanes: Neil Ticket

Their lives changed forever, thanks to a phone call from the Jazz Singer.

This past February 6, as part of the weekend-long Grammy Awards celebration, the charity MusiCares hosted a tribute to Neil Diamond at the Los Angeles Convention Center, honoring the iconic folk singer as its Person of the Year. Performing Diamond's hits onstage that night were such industry heavyweights as Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Chris Cornell, Tim McGraw, Josh Groban, Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, and the Jonas Brothers, not to mention Diamond himself.Another band played that night whom no one had heard of: Los Volcanes, an obscure tejano outfit from Normandy Park, Washington. Their cover of "Red, Red Wine," with Eddie Rodriguez on lead vocals and accordion, received a standing ovation.Rodriguez's story of how his band, whose popularity is primarily confined to South Texas even though they call the Seattle area home, came to share the stage with Diamond and those megastars plays like a musical version of Rocky. He says that Diamond, while touring the Lone Star State, caught Los Volcanes performing on a Spanish-language TV station and invited them to play the Grammy gala. But other sources claim that Diamond had intended to phone Eddie Vedder and somehow got Rodriguez on the line instead. Rather than merely apologizing for calling the wrong number, Diamond, after chatting with Rodriguez for a spell, made a spur-of-the-moment decision to give Los Volcanes the shot of a lifetime (see "Luck on the Rocks," SW, Feb. 4).Regardless of how Rodriguez and Los Volcanes got there, what's important is that they got there—and they've been riding a wave of mini-celebrity (or at least public curiosity) ever since. "Things have been really good; we've done some radio shows and talk shows," says Rodriguez. "It seems like more people were apt to want to talk to me about the relationship between Neil and I and how it's been since we did the show. It's been great, [but] I don't talk to him as much as I'd like to anymore. We e-mail back and forth on occasion. We are talking with his people about appearing with him on a couple of shows that he might do on the road down in Texas, because that's where my kind of people who listen to our music are."When Los Volcanes perform locally, they typically play at Café Arizona in Federal Way. Their headline slot at Volterra will mark their first Ballard Avenue gig in more than a decade. "Back in the earlier days, they'd ask us to appear at the Tractor, which we have not done in awhile," recalls Rodriguez. "Our kind of music is like country with a Mexican flavor, so they wanted to experiment with that."Also on tap for the band, which recently performed at the Clallam County (Wash.) and Hood River (Ore.) Fairs, is a new album. Naturally, it will include a cover of "Red, Red Wine."mseely@seattleweekly.com

 
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