Perhaps no one was more shocked than Daniel García when the announcement was made on Sept. 25 that his band, Shaggy García y Grupo Recuerdo, was nominated for a Latin Grammy in the Best Tejano Album category.
“I didn’t believe it at first,” said Garcia, a Killeen resident. “I said, ‘Why us?’ because there’s so many other great Tejano groups in Texas.”
The humble 53-year-old accordionist arranged most of the music featured on Solo Tencha, the nominated album, with contributions by the group’s other members, Garcia’s brothers, Salvador and David García, and musician Les Martinez. All four members are slated to travel to the awards ceremony Nov. 21 in Las Vegas.
“I’m kind of like the composer of the music, but we get together to think about different ways we can do things,” Daniel Garcia said. “We put our own little flavor into it. We try to go for the heart and make you feel it, like music that will make your hair stand up.”
The music group is just a part-time gig for Daniel Garcia, who owns and operates a custom home remodeling company in Killeen.
But he admits nothing compares to playing music you love with the people you love.
“When me and my brothers are together, we’re just so connected,” he said. “He knows where I’m going to go and vice versa, without having to tell each other. Having that feeling keeps us more motivated.”
Classified as progressive Tejano, the tracks on Solo Tencha are a compilation of re-recorded songs, some written by the group’s idol, the late great Juan Sifuentes.
Gilbert Velasquez, a big name in the industry known for his work with Tejano music heavyweights like the late Selena Quintanilla Perez, produced the album.
The García brothers, born in El Paso into a military family, spent a great deal of their childhood in Killeen where the band formed in the late 1960s.
The brothers always had an affinity for music, Daniel Garcia said.
Growing up, his father, Salvador García Sr., played the guitar and his mother, Lily, sang in a local band.
In the late 1970s, after performing for several years throughout Texas, the brothers fulfilled a lifelong dream when they played alongside Tejano legend Sifuentes, to whom much of Solo Tencha is dedicated.
Over several decades, the band alternated between playing together and breaking up, said singer, bass player and the group’s namesake Salvador “Shaggy” Garcia, 58, who lives in San Antonio. After all three brothers suffered major health scares, ranging from heart disease to cancer, they came together again.
Solo Tencha was the end result of that last reunion.
“It took our uncle’s funeral to open our eyes and come together and say, ‘Forget about everything, we have to recuperate,’” Salvador Garcia said. “We wanted to record one more time before it was too late.”
He was not as surprised by the Grammy nomination as his brother.
“We had all the right stuff, and I told my brothers, ‘This thing is going to hit, you watch.’” Salvador Garcia said.