STUDIO CITY SUN / SHERMAN OAKS SUN / ENCIONO SUN | by Bill Bently, June 26, 2006


Though not related by blood, Chris Gaffney and Dave Gonzalez lead the Hacienda Brothers with all the passion of two soulful siblings. Between Gaffney’s sun-cured vocals and Gonzalez’s heart-zapping guitar, there isn’t much the band can’t do. Looking at the pair’s pedigree, it all makes sense. Gaffney once led the Cold Hard Facts, L.A.’s best kept secret during most of the ‘80s. Their debut album on Rom is one of our great buried musical treasures. Gonzalez was the front man  for the Paladins, and to many ears, always a guitar slinger of the highest order. Throwing together in the Haciendas, they’ve cooked up a sound called Western Soul, and damned if they aren’t right. It’s a moving mix of roots rock and Southern rhythm & blues, produced by Memphis legend Dan Penn to undeniable perfection. Gaffney’s voice, slightly grizzled though it may be, is on we should all be listening to. He sings with the authority of someone who has seen it all, but still appears ready to stay in the game. And to keep things hopping, Gonzalez also jumps in front on a few songs of his own. From Dan Penn-Spooner Oldham originals like “Cry Like A Baby” and “It Tears Me Up” to the Philly classic “Cowboys To Girls,” the material stays as inspired as the artists. Add an ever-present steel guitar on these gems, and this leads the list of local highlights this year, nudging its way toward national notice. Yow.