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Calexico

Calexico, a Tucson collective of musicians focused around Joey Burns and John Convertino, forged an eclectic identity through their exploration of Southwestern culture. Composer Ennio Morricone's spaghetti Westerns as well as Portuguese fado, Afro-Peruvian music, and '50s and '60s jazz, country, and surf music all factored into Calexico's music. Burns studied classical music at the University of California, Irvine, before starting his rock career, and Calexico formed after Burns met John Convertino in Los Angeles in 1990. At the time, Convertino had been playing with Howe Gelb's experimental rock group Giant Sand after serving as their upright bassist for a European tour. Burns and Convertino found their voice as a duo during a Giant Sand break, moved to Tucson in 1994, and began collecting instruments from the Chicago Music Store.

First, they worked with Tucson's neo-lounge combo Friends of Dean Martinez, playing marimba, cello, accordion, and vibraphone in addition to their usual work on bass, guitar, and drums. After a split with Friends of Dean Martinez founder Bill Elm in 1996, the duo began to get session work with Barbara Manning, Richard Buckner, Victoria Williams, Michael Hurley, Bill Janovitz, Vic Chesnutt, and Lisa Germano (as the trio OP8). Burns and Convertino also experimented on their own with their new instruments in a home recording studio in 1996, releasing their debut CD, Spoke, on Germany's Haus Musik Records. After signing with Quarterstick/Touch & Go Records in Chicago, they released The Black Light in 1998 and The Hot Rail in 2000.

For their 2001 EP Even My Sure Things Fall Through, Calexico enlisted the support of soon-to-be members Martin Wenk, Volker Zander, and Jacob Valenzuela, as well as members of Mariachi Luz de Luna. In 2003, the band issued its most cohesive material to date with Feast of Wire. An EP of covers, Convict Pool, followed a year later. The concert DVD World Drifts In: Live at the Barbican London was also released in 2004, and the group spent the rest of that year and 2005 collaborating with artists such as Nancy Sinatra, Neko Case, Laura Cantrell, and Iron & Wine's Sam Beam, with whom they recorded In the Reins. Along with touring with Iron & Wine in support of that album and appearing in a cameo in Michael Mann's film Collateral, Calexico found time to record with producer J.D. Foster. The results were the band's 2006 album, Garden Ruin, Calexico's most song-oriented release to date.

Early in 2007, Calexico appeared at Lincoln Center as a part of the venue's American Songbook Series, and performed at New York's Beacon Theatre that fall as part of a Bob Dylan tribute. During that time, Burns and Convertino also worked on new material, working with some of the same musicians they collaborated with on Feast of Wire as well as Iron & Wine's Sam Beam. In summer 2008, one of Calexico's new songs, "Crystal Frontier," was beamed into space as wake-up music for the astronauts on the Space Shuttle Discovery. That fall, Carried to Dust arrived. Two years later, the band toured with Arcade Fire and released the soundtrack to the documentary Circo. In 2011, their song "Slowness" was played as the wake-up song on the space shuttle Endeavour's final flight, and was dedicated to astronaut Mark Kelly by his wife, congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Their 2012 album Algiers was recorded in and inspired by New Orleans. In 2013, the band issued the live album Spiritoso, which featured backing by Germany's Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien and Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg, as a Record Store Day exclusive; later in the year, it was given a wider release. ~ Robert Hicks, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Splitter (Single)

Comments

I would like to use them in my soundtrack. Future screenplay.. .
Love this song
Calexico performs with Jim James during the Richard Gere scenes in the Bob Dylan inspired film I'm Not There.
sacredfun6
Great tacos. But Mexicali has the good Chinese food.
elizabethmgr a n t
Air horns! (instead of air guitar)
I really like them! They remind me of Dan Hicks and his Hot LIcks Band. Gypsy jug swing! Great dance music.
cowboy4576
See them LIVE if Possible! You'll dig it the most!
xmrrushx
The News about william i honestly thought was being sung by the Moody Blues before i hit the like button.
lilboydrumme r
Takes me to a place I'd rather be
briweav
I like turtles!!!
ray6798
Calexico sounds good playin' in my '58 KG convertible.
Until Rana Santacruz makes it onto Pandora, I can live with Calexico. :)
Very unique and interesting. The area of Calexico is that way too, dark and forbidding on the surface, hidden beauty abounding underneath. Mexicali not so much.
im in
carol.lucas
love this musical sunshine
conniereeves 3 4
Lunada Bay! Where the music surfs in...
This artist picture needs a caption.
troutapple
Every album is an entirely different trip, and every one is great. I'm forever enchanted with this intelligent interplay of classical, jazz, hiphop, house, salsamamboch a c h a , dub, folk, bluegrass, norteno, surf, space, twang, sadness, and theatre. The music makes me so homesick for Tucson. Moved away, alas, right after first hearing you at the Radio Limbo gig at Mat Bevel Inst. Just keep playing, and I'll make it to another show. With love and gratitude, the priestess of wrenches
Tucson!
to you new folks just getting into calexico, be sure to check out hot rail and the black light. A must for any drive through the deserts of arizona...
aztekaearth
Whats up my brethren, Calexico the sand of arizona and beyond. i was lucky enough to enjoy a night out with these guys and their family after a concert in tucson. got plenty of pics and got my nylon guitar signed by the whole band and a guest guitarist from spain. good times indeed.
saw these guys on Conan O'Brian, and fell in love with the horns and latin flavor of the song (something from Garden Ruin). can't wait to explore more from these guys! I'd love to see them live, lucky you, Barney! I'll keep looking for them in my area!
stephane_bri c o
Spectacular! I fell in love with Feast of Wire. It is smooth and delicious, like velvety chocolate. Thanks guys.
sarah.senke
Burns and Convertino are genius. Buy their albums! If you ever get a chance, their live shows are amazing. The band is usually 8+ musicians when touring.

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