“We both grew up in San Antonio, so there's a lot of Hispanic culture that we've kind of grown up around. That's part of the reason we wanted to ... have this Southwestern-y feel rather than just straight-up outlaw country,” Alberts said.
“You definitely don't think trumpet in traditional country. But everyone thinks trumpet in spaghetti Westerns, and you know, it used to be country-Western (music). So there is kind of a natural progression there.”
The band has let its sound develop organically.
While recording the 2012 album “The Rain Will Come,” they wrote two songs — “Pull up Your Boots” and “Heart Achin' Town” — that cried out for an accordion.
So they recruited accordion legend Flaco Jimenez of the Texas Tornados to play on the album and then added “accordion wunderkind” Ortiz to the live lineup.
“We to kind of do everything we can to bring our recordings to life live, but when we're in the studio, we just kind of see it as a canvas. And we just try and paint the picture we're imagining,” Alberts said.
Along with regional acclaim, “The Rain Will Come” garnered Crooks national attention from American Songwriter, CMT.com and MTV Hive, which has made it possible for the band to expand its reach outside Texas and join the Calf Fry festivities for the first time.
“We're pretty excited to do it,” Alberts said.
“We've heard that it's gonna be pretty crazy there at the after-party, a lot people are gonna be a little bit tipsy, gonna be in there shoulder to shoulder, having a good time. That's kind of where we thrive. We like our crowds drunk and rowdy.”
He doesn't yet know if he likes the event's signature delicacy, but he's willing to find out if someone slides a basket of calf fries his way.
“That's my philosophy: You're crazy if you don't try something once.”
We're prettyexcited to do it. We've heard thatit's gonna be pretty crazy there at the after-party, a lot people are gonnabe a little bit tipsy, gonna be in there shoulder toshoulder, havinga good time.That's kind ofwhere we thrive.We like ourcrowds drunkand rowdy.”