It's been a joy following the Tejas Brothers for the past few years. All along, the band has been up to the challenge of carrying the tradition of Tejano/Texas country music. With such a distinct sound that so clearly honors their influences (Texas Tornados and their solo offshoots, along with classic country artists), Dave Perez and the guys are still able to be fresh, current and continue to evolve as a band. The Tejas Brothers' evolution has taken the next step with the release of 'Live A Little More'.

When Tejas Brothers bass player John Garza brought me a copy of 'Live A Little More', I was excited to listen to new stuff from the Ft. Worth-based band. The new CD features guest appearances from the legendary Augie Meyers, Larry Joe Taylor and Deryl Dodd, as well as producer Lloyd Maines adding his stringed instrumental genius in select spots.

The opening track, 'Red,White and Blue' gives a good description of where the Tejas Brothers come from musically. The band has been around for a few years, but this song is an autobiographical introduction that you'd normally catch on a debut album. Better late than never, I say.

Mama loves George Jones
Daddy loves Freddy Fender
You can hear them both every time we sing
Translate all the lyrics
And you'll find the same tongue talking
Bout things that matter both to you and me

It's about a family born in Texas
And about the hard times you know we've all been through
When you look past all the colors on the outside of a Texan
Inside you'll see we're all Red, White and Blue

The album's first single, 'Don't Be So Mean', shows off the band's newest member, guitarist Derek Groves on lead vocals. Groves fits seamlessly into the Tejas Brothers' sound. The song, co-written by Perez and Larry Joe Taylor, is a fun song that provides a great change-up for Texas country radio. Check it out here.

Another legendary songwriter, Richard Leigh, helps out with 'The One and Lonely Me'. Along with Clay Mills and Desiree Corso, Leigh puts together a heartbreaker of a song and brings a new dimension to an otherwise fun-loving album to this point. If you're going to love the Tejas Brothers for their partying, good time music, you have to at least appreciate when they get deep and emotional on you. 'The One and Lonely Me' is a soft, sad, and exceptional song.

'You Don't Need No Heart' is clever. This is probably the best example of Dave Perez' unique writing style in a nutshell. Dave has a talent for taking a subject (attempting to rebound from a broken heart) and turning it into something that's peppy, clever and kind of funny.

You don't need no heart to keep on livin'
Cause I gave my heart away and I'm still around
Well, she broke my heart in two, but I'm still kickin'
Well, I guess you don't need no heart to keep on living

She knew what she was doing
She must have had a plan
She must have enjoyed making me a broken hearted man
She told me that she loved me
She swore we'd never part
But she left me like a tin man walking 'round without a heart

Just when you think 'Live A Little More' is a Tejano album with some light country music influence, 'Yo Soy El Rey' and 'Swerve' come along with the most traditional sounding country.

'Down On My Knees' is straight up honky tonk blues, with Dave Perez accordion taking the place of what would normally be harmonica. It sounds natural, and gives 'Live A Little More' some attitude and a rough edge.

'Swerve' emerges as my favorite song upon my first impression. The hook "Every time I drink I swerve into you" sums up the story, but the whole song is lyrical excellence, with a catchy, toe-tapping groove in the music that reminds me of a Tommy Alverson song. Groves throws down a great guitar solo on this one, too.

I have no idea why the title track to 'Live A Little More' is buried in the back end of the CD, but I can't think of a song further up that I would replace with it. I suppose I'll just deal with it and move on.

The album wraps up with a 'Thank You', and an endorsement of the band's choice of adult beverage. Interesting.

The Tejas Brothers probably don't think of it this way, but I believe they fill a void that needs attention in our region. The Texas music scene would be lacking if not for this band. This band is loaded with talented players, the album is produced to the standard of excellence we have come to expect from Lloyd Maines, and 'Live A Little More' is a 'next level' achievement for a band that I dug the hell out of before the new CD's release.