"Who are these guys? For starters, they are fronted by accordionist/vocalist Gary Mackender (well, he also plays drums, percussion, and additional keyboards), and featuring bassist Karl Hoffmann, drummer Les Merrihew, and guitarist/fretmaster Joe Fanning, plus a slew of Tucson kith and kin pitching in (backing vocalist Bjorgvin Benediktsson is also now listed as being an additional guitarist). Together, the stir up a giant melting pot of sonic chorizo gumbo that will leave you demanding encores. Or second helpings, take your pick.
Indeed, from the noirish polka pop of “The Die Was Cast” and the surreal, Tom Waitsian hectic blues of “Liquor, Vice, and Sin” to the sensual spaghetti western romance that is “Belinda Bonita” and the outrageous Los Lobos-meets-Little Feat “Justified Fitting End” (which should be turned into a crime novel – check out the lyrics here), Tallsome Tales is a guaranteed party starter. This group effortlessly bridges genres and thwarts preconceptions, period." - Fred Mills, Blurt Online, April, 2018
Dreams Are Strange
"Dreams are Strange is the band’s fifth release, and every Carnivaleros CD is excellent, that much goes without saying, an intoxicating mixture of roots musics of all brands: zydeco, folk, Appalachian, Tex-Mex, swing, and, yep, even waltzes, though Big Louie and the Versailles Court would never recognize the lattermost incarnation here, I’m pretty damn sure. More, each disc is better than what preceded it. That alone should supply the band with ample reason to…cut it the hell out!! This is Earth, we’re allowed only just so much above our station, and then have to shuffle off the coil, so don’t force the envelope! The listener is advised to afterwards listen to The Osmonds, The Archies, or The Bangles as penance for having tasted of Eden and the apple." - Mark S. Tucker, VERITAS VAMPIRUS, Issue 1,196, April, 2016
"The band keeps a steady rhythm up on drums, bass, banjo, and other strings as The Carnivaleros make their way over “Hesitation Bridge” across thickly woven riffs and rhythms. The beat huffs a gypsy thump to welcome “Mamie Eisenhower” as “Tumacori” drifts on a dry desert breeze while a jazz shuffle dances in “Donna’s Song” and “Time Traveling” coasts on a percussive rumble." - Danny McCloskey, The Alternate Root, April 21, 2016