The neon sign on the front of the Lonesome Rose was just installed.
The Lonesome Rose is hosting the Conjunto Heritage Taller (CHT) on Thursday night as part of the Big Give. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

The Lonesome Rose honky-tonk and the Conjunto Heritage Taller – an organization that looks to promote, teach, and preserve conjunto music – might seem like strange bedfellows.

The truth is, however, that there is a long-standing tradition in San Antonio of musicians representing different cultural and musical niches learning from and helping one another.

In conjunction with Thursday’s Big Give SA, a South Texas-wide day of online giving, the Lonesome Rose is hosting the Conjunto Heritage Taller (CHT) for a night of music in the spirit of solidarity. The lineup will feature conjunto legends Bene Medina and Juan Tejeda as well as CHT student performances and others.

Garrett T. Capps – a local alternative country artist, show promoter, and part owner of the Lonesome Rose – told the Rivard Report that “part of [the venue’s] mission is to champion all things Tex-Mex.”

“Conjunto music has always been a strong part of San Antonio and South Texas’ dancing culture,” he said.

Garrett T. Capps
Garrett T. Capps. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

The very roots of Tex-Mex music are based, Capps observed, on the fact that country, rock ‘n’ roll, and regional styles like conjunto all found common ground and cross-pollination opportunities in the kind of honky-tonks on which Lonesome Rose is modeled.

At the Lonesome Rose, which opened in November on the St. Mary’s Strip and features live country and roots acts, this cross-cultural bent is readily apparent: The Rose’s wall of fame features country greats right alongside conjunto legends such as Flaco Jiménez, and the jukebox selection follows suit.

Danny Delgado, a part owner of the Lonesome Rose and other ventures on and off the St. Mary’s Strip, grew up hearing and even playing conjunto music with his family. For him, the idea behind Lonesome Rose has always been to display the range of San Antonio roots music, to include conjunto and related styles like Tejano.

“It’s a very San Antonio honky-tonk, which means connections to country but also to conjunto,” Delgado said.

Artists such as Santiago Jiménez Jr. and Josh Baca of Los Texmaniacs, representing two different generations of conjunto music, have already graced the Lonesome Rose stage, Delgado said. The venue also has hosted such acts as Los Callejeros de San Anto, Rio Jordan, and David Beck’s Tejano Weekend.

Delgado said of the Big Give SA concert that “it is an honor that [CHT] wanted to host its event with us,” noting that, in his estimation, the organization “does a lot for the community and for the culture.”

Capps, who acknowledges that he didn’t grow up listening to conjunto but has grown to enjoy and appreciate it, says he hopes “some younger people who haven’t dug this kind of music will come to this show and find something to love.”

“I hope young people will start forming bad-ass bands in the Tex-Mex vein,” Capps said. “We need that.”

Valeria Alderete, a CHT program assistant who helped put Thursday’s show together, explained that “fundraising initiatives like the Big Give SA are crucial to CHT because we are a very small nonprofit working towards very big goals of keeping conjunto music alive for generations to come.”

“We rely on contributions from individual donors to help us offer low-cost and sometimes free conjunto programs to our community, but fundraising also provides us opportunities to promote our message and goals,” she said.

Alderete said she thought of hosting the event at Lonesome Rose because she knew of Delgado’s affinity for conjunto music.

The bar in the Lonesome Rose.
The bar in the Lonesome Rose. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

“Conjunto is a uniquely Texan folk music, created by the melding of the European accordion and the Mexican bajo sexto,” she said, “so I felt that the Lonesome Rose was a perfect fit for the cross-cultural opportunity as it would expose their audience to a form of Texas folk music they may not be familiar with.”

All proceeds from the $5 per-person cover charge for the 8 p.m. show will go to the Conjunto Heritage Taller. Attendees also can present their receipt from an online donation or visit the donation station at the event.

James Courtney

James Courtney is a freelance arts and culture journalist in San Antonio. He also is a poet, a high school English teacher and debate coach, and a proud girl dad.