Tex-Mex Fest: A Tribute to Freddy Fender, June 16
Music legend and crossover pioneer to be remembered with All-Star tribute in Las Vegas
Published on LatinoLA: May 15, 2007
Ivan Entertainment and KTCOK Enterprises are pleased to present a show-stopping Las Vegas extravaganza in honor of the late Tex-Mex musical legend and country-rock trailblazer Freddy Fender. Among the slate of All-Star celebrity artists scheduled to appear are Grammy Award-winners such as Little Joe y La Familia, Ramon Ayala y Los Bravos del Norte, country crooner Johnny Rodriguez, Roberto Pulido, Johnny Hernandez, California Chicano sound originators Tierra, Charlie Rich Jr. and Augie Meyers, a founding member of the Texas Tornados. Actor Jesse Borrego, former star of the television series ‘«£Fame‘«ō and films such as Con-Air, Bound by Honor and Lone Star will join the all-star musical line-up as master of ceremonies.
A successful concert promoter and son of legendary Tejano artist Little Joe Hern?Ūndez, Ivan Hern?Ūndez is aiding by fueling a modern-day renaissance of the Tex-Mex sound while dedicating himself to the preservation of a powerful legacy and native musical tradition. For this historic tribute, Hern?Ūndez has recruited an impressive line-up of musical giants who will appear together on stage for the first time ever at the Orleans Arena on Saturday, June 16th as part of a historic dance and concert being held to remember fellow Texan Freddy Fender, a rocker who achieved crossover star status with a string of No. 1 hits on Billboard‘«÷s Country and Pop charts, while recording widely popular Spanish-language versions of hits by Elvis Presley and Harry Belafonte.
Born Baldemar Huerta in San Benito, Texas, he showed musical promise at an early age and constructed a homemade guitar from screen door wire and a used sardine can while still a child. By age 10, he had already made his first local radio appearance. Playing bars and honky-tonks, he was often referred to as ‘«£El Bebop Kid.‘«ō Taking a cue from his favorite guitar, he changed his name to Freddy Fender in 1959 before recording ‘«£Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,‘«ō a song which did for a swelling tide of English language listeners what a Spanish take on Presley‘«÷s ‘«£Don‘«÷t be Cruel‘«ō and Belafonte‘«÷s ‘«£Jamaica Farewell‘«ō had done three years earlier for Mexican and Latin American audiences, turning Fender into a real-life star.
With a string of chart toppers that began in 1974 with the release of ‘«£Before the Next Teardrop Falls,‘«ō Fender quickly became a national sensation, earning Grammy nominations and Country Music Award for best new artist. A re-release of ‘«£Wasted Days and Wasted Nights‘«ō followed a similar path to the top of the music charts. In more recent years, he co-founded the Texas Tornados with Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers and Doug Sahm, continued touring as a solo artist, and toured as part of Tejano super group, Los Super Seven. A multi-Grammy Award winner, he battled health problems before succumbing to lung cancer at the age of 69 on October 16, 2006
‘«£He was one of my best friends, but he was also one of my heroes,‘«ō says Little Joe Hern?Ūndez, a Texas born-and-bred musician who is often referred to as the ‘«£King of the Brown Sound.‘«ō Hern?Ūndez is proud to have known Fender and laments the loss of a truly great talent. ‘«£We lost a national treasure in Freddy. I want to make sure his legacy lives on. He was a fighter to the end and proud of his Chicano heritage. We want to celebrate his life and his music,‘«ō adds Hern?Ūndez.
Assembled as much for their personal relationships with Freddy Fender as for their honest admiration of his unprecedented legacy, all the artists slated to appear at the tribute were his true brothers in music, artists who were very close, life-long friends with a man they will gather to remember on June 16th. All of them superstars in their own right, these are musicians at their peek who were Freddy Fender‘«÷s collaborators and contemporaries. Together, they created in a bold new world which left room for and indeed, even encouraged Chicano redneck fusions, swamp rocker blues, big band, horn-laced Tejano, electrified rock & roll and straight-up Conjunto Norte??o, and combinations of all on a single record.
‘«£Growing up on the road with dad, I was fortunate to have grown up around all of these guys,‘«ō says Ivan Hern?Ūndez. ‘«£I saw all of them with Freddy at one time or another. And I was especially impressed at how down to earth Freddy was‘«™ how well he treated everybody. If anything, this is what I hope we can convey with the Tex-Mex Fest.‘«ō
This Texas size showcase brings everything expected of an extraordinary Tex-Mex Fest: incredible Tex-Mex/Tejano/Chicano music and a place to dance the night away. Part of the proceeds from the spectacular showcase will benefit the Freddy Fender Scholarship Fund. The Orleans Hotel & Casino provides the perfect place to settle down early in anticipation of what promises to be the concert of the year. Kicking off with a meet and greet on Friday for press and fans, the concert will highlight the Father‘«÷s Day week-end with stories, music and nostalgic images and exclusive video, to compliment the memories of Freddy Fender. The experience is guaranteed to last a lifetime. The Orleans Arena is located at 4500 W. Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, Nevada 89103. Visit www.texmexfest.com for more information.