Hot Rail

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Glen Sarvady
The credits of Joey Burns and John Convertino could fill an ultra-cool free-form radio program's playlist. They're the rhythm section for Southwestern alt-country mavericks Giant Sand and have collaborated with Lisa Germano on the excellent OP8 project, Barbara Manning, Victoria Williams, and Richard Buckner. But Burns and Convertino are increasingly finding their own voice as Calexico, a mesmerizing brew of updated Mexican border music. Hot Rail, the duo's third and best album, branches out without losing sight of what's made the band so special. When trumpets kick in, as on the instrumental "El Picador," their traditional mariachi influence is clear, but Burns's ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Glen Sarvady
The credits of Joey Burns and John Convertino could fill an ultra-cool free-form radio program's playlist. They're the rhythm section for Southwestern alt-country mavericks Giant Sand and have collaborated with Lisa Germano on the excellent OP8 project, Barbara Manning, Victoria Williams, and Richard Buckner. But Burns and Convertino are increasingly finding their own voice as Calexico, a mesmerizing brew of updated Mexican border music. Hot Rail, the duo's third and best album, branches out without losing sight of what's made the band so special. When trumpets kick in, as on the instrumental "El Picador," their traditional mariachi influence is clear, but Burns's understated vocals are what anchor the several standout rock-oriented tracks, including the Duane Eddy-meets-Lee Hazlewood "Ballad of Cable Hogue." Calexico's moody instrumentals have a movie soundtrack feel to them the duo gets its shot at a film score in "Committed", injecting Sergio Leone's Latino noir shadings with a dose of Tortoise post-rock experimentation. Such soundscapes are wisely interspersed with up-tempo melodies, ensuring that Hot Rail remains more than just appealing background music.
All Music Guide - Hal Horowitz
Continuing the Tijuana Brass meets Giant Sand and Ennio Morricone in a dark neuvo-waveo spaghetti Western approach they've gradually refined over the past two albums, multi-instrumentalists John Convertino and Joey Burns keep exploring terrain they've uniquely staked out. While not as cinematic, sprawling, and impressive as 1998's The Black Light, the duo create vivid soundscapes as dry, hot, and shimmering as the weather of their Tucson, Arizona home. Although they subtly expand their palette in all sorts of interesting ways, the spooky, late-'70s Miles Davis feel they inject into the nearly eight-minute "Fade" through jazzy drums, spacy vibes, and ominous cello works best. The songs, especially the appropriately named atmospheric instrumentals "Untitled II" and "Untitled III" tend to meander, but the duo keeps peeling back more layers and different instruments to pull the listener's interest. "Sonic Wind" and "Ballad of Cable Hogue" are as succinct, melodic, and tight as they've ever been, and Joey Burns' yearning, whisper of a voice suits this evocative music perfectly. This could easily turn into schtick, though, and it's to the duo's credit that they not only take themselves seriously, but don't pummel their weirdness into the ground. Instead, they push and knead the already elastic boundaries of a genre they've practically created, in jazzy, bluesy, and experimental directions that indicate they have a rich future ahead of them. Hot Rail isn't a great album; it's far too spotty and inconsistent musically. But it's an important one because it proves Calexico isn't content to remain stuck in an intriguing but limiting rut and is willing to explore new sonic directions while maintaining a distinctive identity and vision.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/9/2000
  • Label: Quarter Stick
  • UPC: 036172006229
  • Catalog Number: 62
  • Sales rank: 73,717

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 El Picador (3:15)
  2. 2 Ballad of Cable Hogue (3:28)
  3. 3 Ritual Road Map (1:15)
  4. 4 Fade (7:43)
  5. 5 Untitled III (4:07)
  6. 6 Sonic Wind (4:13)
  7. 7 Muleta (3:33)
  8. 8 Midtown (3:32)
  9. 9 Service and Repair (4:02)
  10. 10 Untitled II (2:37)
  11. 11 Drenched (4:50)
  12. 12 16 Track Scratch (1:28)
  13. 13 Tres Avisos (5:11)
  14. 14 Hot Rail (4:00)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Calexico Primary Artist, Primary Artist, Primary Artist
Joey Burns Organ, Bass, Guitar, Accordion, Cello, Vocals, Loops
Rob Mazurek Cornet
John Convertino Organ, Percussion, Accordion, Drums, Marimbas, Vibes
Craig Schumacher Harmonica
Nick Luca Guitar
Martin Wenk Trumpet
Marianne Dissard Vocals
Ruben Moreno Trumpet
Technical Credits
Joey Burns Producer
John Golden Mastering
John Convertino Producer
Craig Schumacher Engineer
Victor Gastelum Artwork
Nick Luca Engineer
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