If Jorge Gallegos had to put a brand on his music, he’d call it Americana, although his sounds also straddle the lines between country, rock, blues, and folk. He loves to write ballads, and although he says he has a “real mean Hispanic tough guy look” to him “with a full sleeve of tattoos and a beard,” he “writes very love.” This is perfectly reflected in his upcoming album: Rainbows and Butterflies, in which his daughters will sing the background vocals in the last verse of the title track. As kind as an old-school Texan comes, Jorge not only writes love. He is love.
Jorge’s worked at HEB for more than 28 years, which he accredits much of his story to. He sings the National Anthem at their events and it’s where he happened to meet his wife (who’s a big supporter and fan of his music, which means the world to him). He’s been inspired by his roots and has maintained them along the way. When you have the opportunity to sit down and talk to him, you realize how authentic and good-hearted he is. He’s a good man who says he’s a husband and parent first. “HEB and the music and all that stuff is secondary. That’s the definition of me. I love being married to my wife, and I love being a parent to my four crazy kids (and we have a ‘tie-breaker’ on the way).”
All of these genuine qualities and family values shine through in his music—which could be described as a blend of Elvis Presley, Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, Journey, and George Strait—making his songs the perfect windows-down accompaniment, whether in Texas or elsewhere.
Where did music begin for Jorge? “550 KTSA was the one and only real radio station,” so he picked up much of his inspiration through the airwaves. When he was just 14, Mr. Strait became Jorge’s first “man crush.” But Jorge was a singer first, he says. It all started when a friend who was in a band in high school needed someone to transport his drums to band practice. Jorge happened to have a truck, and their singer was having a hard time. They invited him to jump in, and being the ‘80s, he was fluent in artists like Poison and Whitesnake. But, he says, “The ballad I did that captured everything was ‘The Flame’ by Cheap Trick. But I was just a singer. I didn’t learn to play guitar till my 20s.”
Songwriting was always part of who Jorge is. “The first song I wrote was a poem for an English class,” he reflects. “The teacher told me I had a way with words. She gave me a great grade and it planted a seed. Fast forward to 21; I wrote my first love song. Then I learned to play guitar and put the two together.”
He’s been writing, playing, and recording ever since. Jorge and his brother are an acoustic duo sometimes too, having recorded one EP together under the alias Broseph, released in 2014. Later, in 2016, his brother also played on Jorge’s EP Waiting on the Sun. When the two perform together, Jorge says, “It’s different, a little more aggressive and edgy.” But, when it’s just Jorge, as it is on this upcoming album, he’s “still teddy bear Jorge.”
Rainbows and Butterflies is a blend of both personas. Jorge says this album is full of surprises and the suspect songs he’s known to write, including a mix of both beautiful ballads and edgier tracks. There’s some rock on the album, as well as songs that are just Jorge and his guitar, which he really enjoys. This album also features the Reed Brothers—who Jorge toured with in Europe in 2016—and who’ve been big musical inspirations to him.
The album also features lead guitar player Donny Geyer, a long-time friend of Jorge’s. The two do shows together on a regular basis. Also featured is Haydn Vitera, a musical brother that Jorge affectionately refers to as “El Super Macho,” on fiddle, viper, and guitar. As a side note, Haydn, Jorge, and Dave Perez also perform together as EBROLUTION, a blend of rock, tequila rock, country, mariachi, and original music, in the South Texas circuit.
“This is a very personal album. When I listen to what we’ve done so far, sometimes I think omigod,” Jorge says. “The love aspect is definitely there. And there’s a bit of heartbreak.” “Escondido” is a track inspired by Jorge’s daily drive to work at an HEB in La Vernia, Texas where he’d drive over and past Escondido Creek. He’d repeat the words in his head, and found it very thought-provoking as “escondido” translates to “hidden” or “hiding.” “At some point or another, everyone has wanted to run away and find themselves,” he reflects. One line sums this up: “I’ll be escondido, all alone finding myself and find myself all alone.”
Jorge says “Like the First Kiss,” another track on the album, is unlike him vocally—another example of the surprises contained within the ten tracks this album houses. One of the most touching songs on the album is a track dedicated to a sister who passed away. “It’s a sweet little touch, mostly for my parents. It’s never really been released as it was recorded in the early 2000’s. I want people to feel something when they listen to this album.”
After hearing a three-track sample, we can assure you, this album is indeed full of feeling.
Jorge Gallegos is many things—a songwriter, father, and husband, all of which are reflected in his upcoming album, Rainbows and Butterflies—a compilation of heartbreak, joy, and the stories that have defined Jorge over the years.