For 30 years, Los Lobos has been making high art from folklore indigenous to the East Los Angeles areas the band members hail from.
Somehow, by what at times appears to be a divine act of alchemy, the band has been able to forge a wonderfully individualized sound that also boasts universal overtones. It would be tough to come up with another group of musicians so adept at blending the strains of Texas blues, traditional Mexican forms, rock 'n' roll, pop, American rhythm and blues, folk and a variety of Spanish forms into one gleaming, transcendent whole. In this ability, Los Lobos stands alone, apart from and yet a part of the broader "popular music" culture.
It's a place the band seems comfortable inhabiting. Late last year, Los Lobos dropped its 20th album, "The Town and the City," a record that reprises the multi-idiomatic, dreamlike grace conjured to great success on the career-defining 1992 album "Kiko." The record is a song cycle, with lyrics painting a wide variety of imagistic portraits of East L.A. It's simply stellar stuff and reminds us that Los Lobos occupies a pop music genre of one.
On Monday, Los Lobos comes to the Tralf Music Hall, 622 Main St., for an 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $32.50 advance, $35 on the night of the show. Tickets are available at the Tralf box office or through Ticketmaster.
-- Jeff Miers