Friday, January 18, 2019
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20181107 Texas Wheels 02Mike and Irma Wimsett started making their way to their seats, ready to take a break after dancing to a couple songs by one of their favorite bands, Texas Wheels. It was a Saturday night at Mission Bell and just like every Saturday, Texas Wheels is a regular, performing from 7 to 10 p.m.

Just as they were within arm’s reach of their destination, the band began “Louisiana Saturday Night,” and they were back out on the dance floor. The routine repeated itself one more time. After that, the couple stood firm in the middle of the floor, deciding that they may as well listen to what Texas Wheels played next before deciding to take that now long-awaited break.

“That happens quite often, especially when we are out dancing where they are playing,” Irma said. “Every time out they have a different group of songs and they are always learning new songs – they’re not archaic – but they play all the old good ones too.”

Texas Wheels is a five-man band made up of Andy Gonzalez on drums, Homer Rincones on steel and lead guitar, Manny Villegas on bass guitar, Clyde Chavez on fiddle and harmonica and Jay Luna on rhythm guitar and keyboard.

“We’re a country, line-dancing, big band, Cajun and rock band,” jokes Gonzalez, who said he’s been playing since the Beatles got him hooked and he would listen to their music while playing on his first drum set – his mattress. “It all started with the Beatles. I wanted to do what they did.”

20181107 Texas Wheels HM 1500“We dance all the time,” Irma said. “And they play dance music all night. They keep the beat. They’re not last century.”

“They are just flat out good,” Mike said.

The band doesn’t perform with any type of a band set. Rincones said that not only do they know what people want to hear – and it’s not the same from park to park – but they are usually playing their next song based on requests.

During their first break on a Saturday night, they received a couple of requests, one was for “Duma Walker” by the Kentucky Headhunters in 1989.

The band goes back to 1983 with founder Louis Gomez and was named Texas Country Band. Gomez died in 2016 and the band renamed itself Texas Wheels – after making sure their followers would be ok with these band members singing, replacing the iconic voice of Gomez.

Like many bands, members come and go. Rincones left for the club scene for a while but returned to the park scene in 2005. “I was like the long, lost little brother,” Rincones said. “I brought Louie into the club scene then he went into the park scene. We did our different gigs, but we never drifted apart.”

Now, the group has a regular following at three parks in the Valley. Texas Wheels, which won the Valley Star Awards in 2016 as Texas Country Band for Best Country Music Band, plays every Thursday at Mission Bell, every Friday at Fun ‘n Sun Resort in San Benito, and every Saturday at Winter Ranch RV Park in Alamo.

Some of the other fan favorites and commonly requested songs include “Blue Rose Is” by Pam Tillis, “Cowboy Cumbia” and “Palm Valley,” a song that was a hit for Gomez in Spanish. It’s still a regular request.

20181107 Texas Wheels 01Of course, Rincones has his favorites, including certain waltzes and songs by Merle Haggard. While those may be some of his favorites, Rincones said he and the band are there to serve others and play what they want to hear – including songs like “Pretty Woman,” “Dream, Dream” and “Old Time Rock n Roll.”

“The requests are changing a little more because of all the new, younger Winter Texans coming down,” Rincones said. “That’s fine – we love learning new music and it gives us more options to serve others.”

For more information, find the band’s Facebook Page at Texas Wheels Band or call (956) 793-8099 or (956) 240-9641. There are dates still available for booking.

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