Since emerging from Tucson, Ariz. in 1996 with the lo-fi debut "Spoke," Joey Burns and John Convertino, the core of Calexico, have been exploring and expanding the stories and images and sounds of the American Southwest, while venturing out into psychedelic rock, indie pop, gypsy folk, jazz fusion and experimental instrumentals that sound like nothing else on this planet -- or any other. The band's latest album, "Algiers," was recorded in New Orleans, and though the group worked far from home, it's perhaps Calexico's most fully-gelled collection of songs to date, filled with a paradoxical sense of loneliness and community, and some of Burns' very finest singing and purest melodies.
For this Live at KDHX session, Burns lays down folkloric-inflected acoustic guitar rhythms, backed by piano and joyous harmonies, notably on opener "Maybe on Monday" and a radically reworked cover of Chris Gaffney's "Frank's Tavern." Calexico closed out the session with a spare reading of "Fortune Teller," one of the prettiest, and as Burns puts it, "down and out" songs on "Algiers."
All photos by Louis Kwok.