BY HECTOR SALDANA : FEBRUARY 6, 2014 : Updated: February 6, 2014 12:00am
SAN ANTONIO — David Lee Garza heardthe news, but for a moment he couldn't move. The beloved Tejano star was stunned: He'd just won the Latin Grammy for best Tejano album for his all-star solo album, “Just Friends.”
“I heard my name and I saw myself on the screen,” said Garza with a laugh. “I just kept staring at the screen.”
His girlfriend shook him out of it.
He'd gone to Las Vegas for the 14th annual Latin Grammy Awards ceremony last November. But he had no expectations — perhaps wisely. In the Tejano category, Garza was pitted against Los TexManiacs' “Texas Towns and Tex-Mex Sounds,” Jay Perez's “New Horizon” and Salvador “Shaggy” Garcia's “Solo Tencha.”
“Just Friends,” dedicated to his late father, bajo sexto musician Tony “Pops” Garza, and featuring stars such as David Farias, Joe Posada, David Mares and Marcos Orozco, however, seemed to have a spirit of good will associated with it from the beginning.
Produced by Gilbert Velasquez, it marked the first Latin Grammy win for Joey Rodriguez's JROD Records; the win marked Garza's second Latin Grammy (he also has a Grammy Award).
David Lee Garza y Los Musicales arrive at Graham Central Station on Friday. Garza performs sets at 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Admission costs $10; $8 before 8 p.m.
But just because the CD had a guardian angel named Tony, didn't mean that it wasn't an emotional journey for the son.
“You could see it on his face,” said Farias, whose friendship and musical association with Garza dates to the early 1990s.
“You could tell when we were in the studio. You could feel it. It was just a great honor to be a part of it. I did the best I could. I have a lot of respect for David.”
Farias, a former member of the legacy family act La Tropa F, knows full well the responsibility (and expectations) that go with family matters. In a twist of fate, Farias was competing against himself last year in the same category because Los TexManiacs were also nominated.
The all-star cast for “Just Friends” was a no-brainer. “All the singers wanted to do it,” said Rodriguez. “It wasn't like, 'Let me think about it.'”
Rodriguez pointed to Garza's reputation as a good guy and, maybe more important, as a gold standard in Tejano.
“What David tries to do every time is to boost the Tejano market and put a little shot in the arm to it,” Rodriguez added. “There's not a better way to do it than to bring in guest vocalists. You're bringing something different to the table. It's not the same old song and dance.”
For a legacy act like Garza, the Latin Grammy carries more weight outside the region. It's also a boost for the festival circuit.
“He's a real good guy. Everything he does just turns into gold,” Farias added.
The CD was as highly personal as it was commercial (“It was the most Tejano of the bunch,” said Garza), and the spirit of the patriarch, who died in March 2011, carried the day.
Rodriguez said the inclusion of a snippet of Tony Garza's voice on the CD “totally freaked out” members of the Garza family and fans.
“He would always call me,” said Garza. “I miss those phone calls.”