Mount Airy band records in Nashville SOUTHWEST -- Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

November 13, 1992|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

After more than 20 years as country musicians, the Caballero brothers have cut their first album.

To Ed and Gil Caballero, Mount Airy residents and Texas natives, the album means they are finally on the path that leads to their dream.

"To see 15,000, 20,000 people listening to us playing our original music, that would be great," said Ed, 44.

"Looking on the Outside," a collection of nine of Gil's traditional country songs, was recorded last December in Nashville, Tenn.

The album now is being circulated among 250 independent country stations, and the title track is listed as No. 17 in Music Grow magazine out of Nashville, the brothers said. Northern Virginia Rhythm magazine listed the single at No. 9 last week and rated the album as No. 2 in Top 10 releases.

"We're moving up in the charts and have gotten a lot of good reactions," Ed said.

For the Caballero brothers, music came naturally.

With a father who sang and an uncle who played drums, accordion and guitar in a Tex-Mex group, it wasn't surprising that the two started playing while in high school and formed a band with their brothers Joe and Larry.

"Some of us went for lessons, but we learned [to play] mostly by ear," Ed said. "We'd play for parties, football dances and other things."

Finally, the band left Waco, Texas, and began traveling. It was about the time the Beatles came to America, and they first heard the British group as they traveled to Kansas for a show, Ed said.

L "We figured if they could do it, so could we," said Gil, 40.

For the next eight years, they traveled throughout Texas, the East Coast and Canada, playing Top 40 and country tunes and having adventures they remember fondly to this day.

"It's fun," Gil said. "You meet a lot of different people and see a lot of different towns."

The pair remember being stranded and out of gas in Florida during the gas embargo, seeing their equipment burn in a hotel fire in Beckleysville, W. Va., and being flooded out of a hotel room in Michigan.

"It's different being on the road. You learn a lot," Ed said. "You have money problems most of the time and have to deal with club managers who sometimes don't keep their word.

"You learn a lot about life itself."

In 1974, the pair came to Rockville for a two-week vacation and played for two months at a Holiday Inn. Ed met a woman named Ruth, and they got married two months later.

At that point, the group began to put down roots in Maryland.

As the band continued on tour in North Carolina, Gil met Ruth's sister, Terry. They were married in 1976. The band stopped traveling in 1978.

"The people here really enjoyed our music," Ed said of the brothers' Maryland audiences. "Also, there's a more stable economy here, people have money all the time and they like to be entertained."

The duo began to drift away from their music and started the tTC Chuck Wagon catering service in 1977, serving food on construction sites and at industrial plants.

Although the brothers formed "Caballero" in 1980 -- with Jack Weaver playing drums and singing backup, John Clem on lead guitar and singing backup, and Dennis Athey on steel guitar -- the group primarily played benefits and local gigs.

But the music bug soon bit again, and Caballero formed again about 1 1/2 years ago with the intention of cutting an album.

"I had dropped out of the scene," said Gil. "I was writing a lot of gospel music when Ed and Jack asked me to do some country stuff."

It sounded like fun, he said, so he started writing for the group.

After writing nearly 30 songs in six months, arranging the music and perfecting it in Ed's basement, the brothers finally traveled to Nashville last year and recorded the best nine of that batch at the Reflections recording studio.

"It was really enjoyable," Gil said. "But we had worked out a lot before we got down there. Technically, we had no problems and it turned out a lot better than we thought it would."

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