Tex-Americana from Austin, Texas
Max Rios has sported a journeyman’s hat for the past thirty years. He spent most of the nineties touring with Tejano group Latin Image/Imagen Latina where he played bass and managed the group. During his tenure, the group toured nationally in support of three indie records, two Sony recordings and one Capital release.
In the early 2000’s he formed a Rock En Español group entitled Los Gallos and produced two EPs (Barrio Boogie and Los Gallos II) followed by regional gigs. Rios was always drawn to his roots and classic rock influences which range from Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Dwight Yoakum to Tom Petty. He coined the term Tex-Americana to describe his blend of Tex-Mex and Americana music. His songs are shaped by the Gulf Coast breezes that waft in and lace the arrangements with steel guitars and accordions. If one were to amble onto Max’s ‘Tex-Americana Avenue’ you’d hear the buzz of a honky-tonk colliding with the raucous clatter of a cantina.
Shakin’ The Fences is the fourth Max Rios and The Waysiders’ EP to be released on Tone It Up Records. As Max continues to hone his songwriting craft, he looks forward to getting out and playing live. The collection of songs on Shakin’ The Fences’ is in response to being in lockdown during the pandemic. Rios states, 'Shakin’ The Fences' represents an attempt to stay connected…to celebrate the influences, people, and music that have inspired me”.
The Waysiders have been described as a Tex-Mex Experience. We thrive in the back and forth with a live audience. They push, we pull and vice versa”.
Tōne It Up Records® proudly presents Max Rios and The Waysiders. The Waysiders are an east Houston incarnation that embody their roots … which plays like the soundtrack of their Americana experience.
Wayside Drive runs north and south and dissects Houston’s east-side. Remnants of honky tonks and blues joints have faded to neighborhood cantinas... it’s working class.
Max Rios and Chuck Pena are childhood pals that have known each other since their early teens. Pena claims, “believe it or not, we started out in the church choir. We went our separate ways and hooked up again about twelve years ago”. The original “Wayside Kid” is Rodney Crowell. Rios notes, “it’s funny, we ran the same streets growing up that he did. He was always an inspiration. I didn’t realize this till a few years ago when I read his autobiography. We’ve since relocated to Austin but make the trip to Houston pretty often. We named the band The Waysiders because …it’s who we are”.
'Fork In The Road'
Shame, Shame, Shame
In My Place
Easy For You To Say
'St. Jude By The Dashboard Light'
South Congress Serenade
Kick The Tires
What Were You Thinkin’
South Congress Serenade (long play)
Better Than That
Cry Man Cry
Who I Am
'Shakin' The Fences'
Moving The Line
Holding The Line
Rainbow (Vangie's Song)
Texas BBQ (alternate cut)
Shakin’ The Fences
Back in the 90’s I was in a traveling band. We’d been on the road for a couple of weeks and we came across a roadside sign in Florida advertising Texas BBQ. We counted the miles and finally pulled into this BBQ joint. The place was overdone in “Texas” cliché’. The waitress had on a cowgirl costume topped off with string rimmed cowboy hat. I ordered the Texas Brisket and was amused when a plate of pot roast arrived. Sorry, this ain’t ‘Texas BBQ’.
Moving The Line
I used to ride shot gun with my grandfather AT Rod (Agapito Tanguma Rodriguez). He was retired and we’d spend the time running errands and visiting his friends and brothers. In our travels he’d often share his pearls of wisdom on any subject that crossed our path. No topic was off the table - politics, gas lines, retirement, the price of cigarettes, even the length of the Beatles hair. I had this lyric for years, “Grandad cursed the government, raisin’ his ciggies fifty cents”…I’m glad they finally found a home in this song. Gracias, AT.
Its a kinda wistful nonsensical tune. I came up with the chords probably after watching a Doors documentary. Its got a 60’s vibe so I had fun building it around a playful imaginary relationship. One night I watched Joni Mitchell reign in a rowdy Isle of Wright crowd with her angelic voice and an acoustic guitar and pretended my muse had a voice like Joni’s. I kinda channeled a booking agent that I never met in person. We communicated solely through email. She would email and ask if I could play a date and it was the greatest sugar high and then one day the emails stopped.
Holding The Line Every time we hear of someone stepping up and doing something extraordinary we call them a “Hero”. 99.99 percent of the time they’ll say I’m no hero I just acted...it’s the 0.01 percent that we gotta keep an eye on. I had written about 60% of ‘Holding The Line’ and put it away. During Covid I saw so many folks stepping up to the call and finished it for them...Thank You.
Rainbow (Vangie’s Song) In 2016 my mom passed away. This is the only song I wrote that whole year. I wrote most of it the night before her wake but could not sing it the day of her funeral. I put it away and revisited and finished it during the downtime of the pandemic.
St. Jude By The Dashboard Light
Tone It Up Records® proudly presents, “St. Jude By The Dashboard Light”, Max Rios’ sophomore effort. The recording features five original songs and an extended bonus track Max claims were developed on his many travels up and down the Texas highways in his 2003 Toyota Matrix. “St. Jude”, enlists guest performances by renowned accordionist - Joel Guzman, Grammy award winner - David DelaGarza, and Houston songstress - Myrna Sanders. So take hold of the wheel, roll the knob clockwise and experience what comes at you…through the dashboard light.
South Congress Serenade
A few years back, we landed our first gig in Austin. We were all a little nervous about the crowd accepting us. After a few songs, we felt we were going to be alright. There was this one gal who started dancing alone; she was in her own world. I remember looking over to Chucky and seeing that look of satisfaction on his face. Man, we’d weathered a number of gigs to get to this moment. South Congress came out of this experience and we felt it would be fitting to have Joel Guzman play accordion on it and give it that Austin vibe. Thankfully, he agreed to do it. The Waysiders would like to thank the ballerina in cowboy boots.
Kick The Tires
I was hanging out listening to some friends play in the Fort Bend area of Houston. This is a swanky part of H-town. The guys were doing their thing and the crowd was feeling it. After a few cold ones, I looked around the room and noticed there was a strong cougar presence working the room. As the night progressed (and the suds rose), I had this surreal image of being in a used car lot. I got nothing against late model fixer uppers trying to close the deal. Just thought I’d have a little fun with it.
A childhood friend calls me from time to time. I always have to block out a few hours when I take his calls cause’ he always has some heavy things to talk about. This particular night he asked me if I remembered an old girlfriend he had back when we were in a band in our teens. He said after all these years, he still goes back and parks in front of the house she used to live in. He says, "I know she’s not there. I’ve been married, had kids and gotten divorced but I always wonder how and where’s she’s been". He tells me, “You know we made a mistake back then and sometimes I wonder if we made two”. Yeah, I remember.
What Were You Thinkin’
Like I said, I gotta block some time out for my bud cause’ he lays it on me. Here’s another one. This time he tells me about his marriage coming apart. Once the kids are old enough to go school his wife goes out and gets a part time job. It wasn’t long after she started working she caught the eye of the eighteen year old night manager. Things progressed and it wasn’t long till my friend was asking, ‘What Were You Thinkin’?
'Little Tricycle’ is a homage to my dad. About twenty or so years ago he told us that when he was a kid, all he wanted for Christmas was a little red tricycle. Several Christmases went by and no tricycle. One year he was sure he’d get that tricycle and that year he goes to the tree and finds an orange…one lonely orange. A few years back, I read Al Green’s autobiography (‘Take Me To The River’) and he told a similar story. Only, he got a bag of oranges. I felt there was a story there. That had to be a period thing that happened to a lot folks. I’m sure that was a formative experience that forged a drive in them. I think they both came out of it ok.