The Mystiqueros – “You’ve Got a Way”

Stephen Deusner | August 5th, 2010

the-mystiqueros

Until recently, this act was known as Walt Wilkins & the Mystiqueros, as it featured Texas songwriter Wilkins a the front of the stage. For their latest album, Agave, the band billed itself as simply the Mystiqueros, which is a laudable show of solidarity by its frontman and a more appropriate moniker for the San Antonio group. While Wilkins is no doubt a talented songwriter with a knack for gracefully plainspoken lyrics, “You’ve Got a Way” makes clear that this is in fact a band effort, not a solo project with a backing band.

It’s a sturdy, groove-based song that chugs along with the pace of a freight train and a lusty energy that only hints at its ulterior motives. “Baby” Ray Rodiguez pushes the song forward on drums, rolling out a traintrack snare rhythm that keeps the other players on their toes. Wilkins and Johnny “Gringo” Greenberg trade off guitar solos, unraveling twangy variations on the melody. You can’t hear the song and not know right away it’s from Texas.

Wilkins’ lyrics are for all intents and purposes invisible, secondary to the song and primarily the framework for his vocal melody. But that’s not a slam, because he sings those words in a voice pitched somewhere between Freddy Fender and Robert Earl Keen, with the other players adding genial harmonies along the way. Nothing here is exactly innovative; there are no new combinations of styles or sounds, just a reconsideration of existing syntheses. On the other hand, the Mystiqueros exhibit a band dynamic that sounds rough and roadworn, born from not only an endless series of nightly shows in front of hard-to-impress audiences, but also from the long roadtrips in between. Sure, “You’ve Got a Way” probably sounds better live, but it sounds pretty good on record.

Thumbs Up

  1. WAYNOE
    August 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Who was it that said in an earlier post that these type of non-mainstream groups/acts tend to receive more “thumbs up” than mainstream artists?

  2. Brody Vercher
    August 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    So Waynoe, do you ever have an opinion on the actual songs, or is the rating the only thing you ever look at?

  3. Leeann
    August 5, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    @ Wayno: Who was it that said in earlier post that these type of non-mainstream groups/acts tend to receive more “thumbs up” than mainstream artists?

    What if it’s true? So what. Every site has its slant. If you’re looking for more positive reviews for mainstream artists, go to Rough Stock. Nothing against Rough Stock (I Personally like Matt Bjork a heck of a lot), but they lean very heavily toward the mainstream there, which seems to be what you’re looking for.

    And, yes, when will you and Jon compare dossiers as you said you’d be happy to do?

  4. WAYNOE
    August 5, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Actually I do and some of my posts have indicated them. Regardless, I think my statement is relevant and I would be glad to hear your explanation as to why it is that the “thumbs up” are more generous to non-mainstream artists.

    Actually, I really am asking for an explanation and not an argument. An intelligent conversation if you will.

    My last somewhat positive opinion of a song was Band Perry’s latest. Did you read my post then?

  5. WAYNOE
    August 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Leeann,

    To the contrary, I am not of the belief that most mainstream artists should receive positive reviews if their songs do not warrant them. You are mixing up the questions. My thoughts were as another posted previously. Why are the non-mainstream artists’ songs receiving more positive reviews than mainstream? It is regardless of whether I agree or not.

    And I appreciate your willingness to admit that this site as well as others have their slant. That has been one of the things I have been trying to get some to admit. That is why most critics cannot review a song without some predetermined prejudice. Hence one of my many problems with critics. Don’t hide it. Say it upfront when rating a song rather than trying to mask it by some self-anointed expertly dissected review that was already in the reviewer’s mind before the track was listened to. I am o.k. with that. But don’t hide it!

    It is in everyone’s right to say and comment on what they want and where. Certainly this site has a right to be slanted and comment accordingly.

    However, we also have that right to respond as well. Or at least I thought we did. I am still trying to figure free speech out in a liberal world.

    Where can Jon and I put such a list together providing those who I work for allow it?

  6. Thomas
    August 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    …good voice, good pace, well played. you’d have to cut off my thumb to prevent it from pointing upward.

  7. Kyle
    August 5, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Waynoe, I can’t speak for the staff, but it makes sense if you think about it. There are tons of independent releases – in general, why sort through them only to pick out and review a bad one?

    I always figured they review the mainstream singles both good and bad, and also tip us off to the occasional diamond in the rough.

  8. Julia Hughan
    August 5, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Loving the groove on this track.

    This is also further proof that I need to delve deeper into the Texas music scene.

  9. Rick
    August 5, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    As far as Texas Regional Music goes this band is a cut above the norm as the music is actually enjoyable to listen to! Its not unique, its not exceptional, but at least its not bad. The lead singer sounds like Pat Green would after drinking a case of Red Bull! (Or more accurately Ronnie Van Zant while recovering from a head cold.)

    Personally I prefer the Tex-Mex swagger of The Tejas Brothers. How can this band have a goofy spanish souding name and not include an accordian? What’s up with that?

  10. Miss Leslie
    August 5, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Waynoe – Since when does a critic not have a slant? And what purpose does it serve to get critics, bloggers or a site to admit it? And more importantly, who cares?

    Rick – I love the Tejas brothers. I love Walt -sorry the Mystiqueros – too (btw Walt wrote a lot of Pat Green’s hits – makes you wonder who sounds like whom). I saw the band live once at Waterloo Icehouse in Austin during SXSW. His sound reminded me of the Allman Brothers. It reminded me of roots rock-n-roll and everything that I miss about it.

    Not everyone can handle accordion, my friend. The Tejas Brothers handle it mighty fine. Mighty fine indeed.

  11. WAYNOE
    August 5, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    An accordion is a dang good instrument. The ole squeezebox sounds good in country songs where fitting.

    Miss Leslie,

    Did you say something? Oh, you cared enough to respond. Thanks for the compliment.

  12. Miss Leslie
    August 5, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Waynoe – I know you are so what am I?

    Good grief. There’s better things to do than berate people on the 9513.

  13. Brady Vercher
    August 5, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    @Waynoe, to the extent that it’s possible, we try to cover music equally, regardless of financial backing. Seeking out independent music to give negative reviews is both pointless and potentially harmful to acts who may have barely gotten started or haven’t yet developed a following. It’s not an unreasonable approach and if you don’t like it, you are welcome to go find a new favorite site.

    Futhermore, if you do wish to remain a part of this community, you’ll start being a little more respectful of the other regulars and writers. You wouldn’t want your financial business receiving the same smears you’ve lodged against this site and its writers and, judging from your comments, I’m sure you’re a firm believer in the Golden Rule.

    —–

    @Miss Leslie, I bet we were at that same show. We yelled out a request for “Just Like Hank” and Sam Baker jumped on stage to sing with the band.

  14. Matt Bjorke
    August 6, 2010 at 12:39 am

    My personal opinion on any review I do is that I’ll write about something if I like it or am ‘indifferent’ about it. I fully admit that I personally lean more to a mainstream sound as a music fan but I do love me some indie artists (Walt Wilkins and The Mystiqueros being on that list). I also like a majority of what I hear. If I truly ‘hate’ something, you won’t hear me talk or write about it as why would I promote something I really don’t like. It’s also why we have a .5-5 star rating system there, so that a ‘so-so’ song can get 2.5-3 stars. It’s not great, it’s not bad.

    I also will try to pass such items off to other writers who write at Roughstock.

    I agree with Brady that it’s best not to focus on truly bad indie stuff and it should fall under my “if it’s not being talked about by me, I don’t like it” feelings. -Just what I do @Roughstock.

  15. Paul W Dennis
    August 6, 2010 at 12:57 am

    I would expect the indie stuff to be a bit more favorably reviewed since reviewers are likely to review and bring to the attention of the audience music, that the audience will need to hunt in order to hear.

    For the so-called “mainstream” country pablum you can tune to any FM country station and hear, usually repeated endlessly in any 24 hour cycle

    I’d give this song a solid B, maybe even a B+

  16. Leeann
    August 6, 2010 at 5:05 am

    Ditto to Brady on the indy stuff.

    Wayno, you should totally respect what Miss Leslie has to say. Her credentials definitely pass your arbitrary “critics” litmus test.

  17. WAYNOE
    August 6, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Leeann,

    I was actually keeping with the tone of her comment. Nonetheless, your point is well taken and I am not above accepting admonishment.

    Brady,

    Just keeping with your tone as well. Again, an open forum should leave those of us who disagree with as much freedom as others. If you will read ALL my comments, I am not an automatic “thumbs down” on everything posted here.

    I DO understand your comment about the indy folks. It seems like by your admittance that there is a type of agenda in helping getting indy acts recognized and this is done via the reviews on this website. THIS IS WHAT I CLEARLY HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET ADMITTED.

    By the way, there is nothing wrong with it. I for one am o.k. with bias (in this context of course) as long as it’s stated. Now we know, or should know, that there is a reason why most indy acts are positively reviewed here. For what it’s worth, and I take it worth very little to you, I am not in disagreement with it. Just glad it’s admitted so we can understand the obvious slant toward positive reviews for the indies.

    By the way, I have to catalog and save any complaints I receive and they are subject to governmental audits. I simply cannot “delete” the person who may have a complaint. Thankfully that file is extremely thin.

    I will also take it on the chin a bit on the respectful issue. However, a cursory review of some of the comments posted here from the contributors, especially when they are taken to task on their reviews, not the least of which were some of Mr. Malec’s, makes me look like a lamb.

    Matt,

    Thanks for your post. Makes sense to me.

  18. Miss Leslie
    August 6, 2010 at 11:25 am

    @Waynoe – You can follow tones without being disrespectful. Logic is the best ammunition in my opinion.

    @Brady – I think that was the same show. The thing that sticks out in my memory was that Walt was asking the venue to turn the overhead restaurant music off and after the 3rd song he said, “What the f-ck?” a couple of times. I hadn’t heard that onstage in awhile and thought it was funny – and being nicer than I would have been. I probably would have walked off the stage until they turned the overhead music off. That was a great show though. Fabulous band and I really dug the tunes. Chris Thomas (Palo Duro Records) told me that it was his favorite band. After the show I could see why.

  19. M.C.
    August 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Waynoe–The theme of reviewing most mainstream releases and giving attention to the best of the non-mainstream is a fairly standard practice for music publications of all genres, going back to when they first started appearing. It’s a tried-and-true practice, with good reasoning behind it. But I also can tell you from experience that, because of it, it tends to make some readers think there’s a bias against mainstream coverage, because that’s where most negative reviews naturally arise. But if the 9513, or any publication, repeatedly slammed those that aren’t very well-known, they would come off as gratuitous and mean-spirited.
    I personally like the balance here, and one reason I come back is to find out about music I might not otherwise hear. I’m more interested in that than a review of the next Carrie Underwood single.

  20. John Garza
    August 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Howdy folks this is John (Bass player from the Tejas Brothers). The Tejas Brothers are super big fans of Walt Wilkins. BTW there is accordion on this CD. In fact Dave Perez of The Tejas Brothers is the one playing it on Blue Agave.

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