Last month, Rolling Stone ran an article entitled “Unplugged: Is the Guitar Solo Finished?” and outlined its case that the biggest hits of the past 30 years seem to all have guitar solos and these guitar gods may be on the endangered species list. Call it what you want, but the truth is there are still lots of amazing hits that actually don’t use computers to create strong, guitar-driven tunes.
Austin’s Buenos Diaz is one of those bands making a name for itself in the congested music scene with guitar solos heavily used in their music. While they can’t boast a string of headlining tour dates, a standout showcase at SXSW and a groundswell of Texas fans is nothing to disregard. The band’s latest track, “Waiting’s Never Easy” is a long song, coming in at just over five minutes, but it’s worth the wait. And, it sure doesn’t feel like five minutes.
Relying on his interesting background – Nick Diaz, the vocalist and guitarist for the six-member band combines all quite a bit of New Orleans-flavored jazz percussion, with pieces of blues, rock and slices of punk. According to his bio, he’s Houston based, but has called The Big Easy and San Francisco home. He’s even been a camp counselor at a Rock and Roll Fantasy camp. And, to top it off, he sometimes describes himself as an “alligator cowboy.” How’s that for flavor?
Though his guitar isn’t heavy in reverb in this track (compared to the bands punk-rock tune, “Nervous” that came out in January 2019), Diaz delivers the song with adequate vocals and lyrics that are frankly overpowered by his and the band’s musicianship. There are two guitar bridges in this song – the first one is a cool, mellow, John Mayer- like tone; the second guitar break comes near the end of the song and bursts itself through the door like a Jimi Hendrix or Tom Morello (Range Against The Machine). Perhaps “bursts” isn’t the right word. It’s like the song is riding up an elevator, and each floor, Diaz takes the guitar’s levels of intensity another notch. It’s truly mesmerizing. Hints of blues and a throwback nod to a 60s club vibe fill the spaces. It’s very Madmen-like. Suite, ties, slicked back hair and whiskey-laced tones await, as do smoky undertones and nefarious corners.
The guitar licks are so quick towards the end it’s near impossible to not envision the guitar pick flying across the strings. “Send a message / say what you mean / waiting’s never easy / when it’s this deep / when it’s this deep” Diaz sings between licks before he kicks it up a notch.
The guitar gets strung out and partakes in a cat-and-mouse-like game with the bass guitar. The two chase around each other for a bit…before the guitar calls victory. Then, winding down just a tad, the song ends with a sigh of true completion. Pure guitar magic and from another dimension. For a minute there, it felt exhausting, but completely worth the wait.