When Chicago’s Finest Ringers Backed Up Los Lobos

This weekend marked the 35th Annual American Music Festival at Fitzgerald’s Nighclub in Berwyn. Reckless Kelly, Banditos, Robbie Fulks, Tributosaurus becomes James Brown, and John Fullbright (who commented the American Music Festival is the “anti-festival festival”) and Cesar Rosas and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos performing as Dos Lobos and Friends were among more than 50 acts who performed on 3 stages over 4 days.

More on the mysterious Dos Lobos and Friends in a moment. Now, I don’t take for granted the privilege of being able to dip my toe into the vast waters of Chicago’s music scene. It’s humbling to have befriended many of our city’s musicians (sometimes surreal that many know me by name) and truly an honor to call some my friends. When good things happen to friends, it’s hard for me to not feel something more than joy. It’s a feeling closer to “Holy crap, I’m glowing through teary, pride-filled eyes!”

Back to Cesar Rosas and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos performing as Dos Lobos and Friends. The And Friends part raised suspicions all weekend – if not joined by the rest of Los Lobos, then who?! Call in the ringers: Chris Neville (keyboardist, founding member of Tributosaurus and owner of a very cool venue called Wire), Gerald Dowd (who, in addition to being a tight drummer, can make music from just about anything he touches), Dave Herrero (six-string slinger who also plays with Nelson Street Revival), Scott Tipping (guitarist with Cornmeal and hired gun who bears a striking resemblance to the equally killer guitarist Chris Voss from The Record Company), horn players Eddy Enright and Nic Meyer rounding out the rhythm section with John Abbey on bass.

These guys are among the best musicians in the city and they proved it. They tore through a near 2-hour set of  Los Lobos tunes, blues standards including “Sweet Home Chicago,” Allman Brothers BandJimi Hendrix, and a few more Los Lobos tunes for good measure. If it weren’t for Cesar Rosas or David Hidalgo giving an occasional visual cue or head-nod, you’d never tell they’d never performed together before that night.

To my friends Chris Neville, Gerald Dowd, Dave Herrero, Scott Tipping, Eddie Enright, Nic Meyer, and John Abbey I say congratulations on a truly “Once In A Lifetime Live Music Experience.” Holy crap, I’m glowing through teary, pride-filled eyes.

Your pal,
-Ryan A.

A special thanks to David Kindler for capturing the entire 35th Annual American Music Festival through his keen lens! Here are a few snaps:


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