When the Hacienda Brothers released their third and final studio album titled Arizona Motel in 2008, guitarist Dave Gonzalez was left with the unfortunate task of promoting the new release without his partner Chris Gaffney who died unexpectedly from liver cancer. So Gonzalez put together an Austin Texas all-star band to hit some of The Hacienda Brothers favorite venues, and it was Gonzalez himself who took over the onstage vocal duties for all of Gaffney’s songs, nailing them with emotion and finesse night after night. Gonzalez’s outstanding performances are no surprise to those who followed The Paladins, where Gonzalez did the bulk of the singing for over 20 years. Dave Gonzalez was also the Hacienda Brother’s primary songwriter and powerhouse guitarist who in 2007 was named one of Guitar Player Magazine’s “Top 101 Unsung Guitar Heroes.” Gonzalez had recently helped develop a new prototype Baritone Guitar for Fender. With this guitar he is a pioneer of sorts, exploring new dimensions in guitar tones that only a baritone can produce. The sound is part Duane Eddy, classic honkytonk, and spaghetti westerns. As Dave explains “unexpectedly it also sounds absolutely great on the soul stuff.” This year Spin Magazine selected the Hacienda Brothers at one of the “100 Greatest Bands You’ve (probably) Never Heard.” Gonzalez says, “This is a consolation prize for all the hard work the Hacienda Brothers put into the project and if Gaff had pulled through than maybe we could have shook the "Probably Never Heard Of" part of their 100 Greatest list.” The wild card in Gonzalez’s Austin All-star band was vocalist Mike Barfield. While some people might have mistakenly looked at Barfield as an attempt to replace Gaffney, the fact and the results couldn’t be further from that: Barfield proved to be just the breath of fresh air the shows needed to keep them fun-loving and spontaneous. Barfield is a singer that Gaffney respected and enjoyed. Barfield has fronted his own band, The Hollisters, and spent the last few years creating his own brand of country-soul, recently releasing two CDs of largely original material. The most recent, The Tyrant (Tater Tot Recordings) takes its name from Barfield’s nickname as The Tyrant of Texas Funk. The CD features a slew of fun, soulful, funky and sometimes irreverent songs like “Funky Cupcake” and “The Struggle.” When Barfield breaks into his screaming whoops and animated country-soul dance you’ll want to join the infectious good time. Gaffney would have loved this pairing. In 2009 the Stone River Boys made a big splash performing at SXSW and the Americana Music Conference. Out of their showcases came a record deal with Cow Island Music out of Massachusetts. For every end there is a new beginning and in this case for Dave Gonzalez and Mike Barfield, it’s The Stone River Boys. Look for a new release titled “Love On The Dial” to hit record stores on May 18th.

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