Bandleader Gary Mackender formed The Carnivaleros in 2001 to record and perform the music he's been writing since those years on the road in the 1990s. His influences include strains of Zydeco rhythms mixed with Tex-Mex polkas, moody Eastern European themes and a bit of blues and swing thrown in for good measure. With Happy Homestead, his third CD, he has penned twelve new genre-bending songs along with a lucky thirteenth that's a collaboration with long-time musical cohort Kelley Hunt. And once again Mackender's writing is personal yet global. The new CD is subtitled "12 Songs On the Paradox of the Human Condition...and a Waltz". And, of course, the tunes are catchy. Along with Mackender on accordion, vocals, organ, drums and bass, the CD features many of Tucson's finest musicians; Carla Brownlee, Chris Giambelluca, Danny Krieger, Michael P., Catherine Zavala, Nancy McCallion, Dante Rosano and Gary's brother Greg Mackender making a special appearance on the Hammond and vibes. Here's what Mark S. Tucker of the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange had to say: 'Homestead is what Carnivaleros music really is, 110% this time, and what that is, is infectious as hell, swingin' like a gin-swozzled junebug, and as sage as a grinning ranch-hand looking toward darkening skies. Thus, when you're tired of all the cinematic, staid, proper, and approved musics in every media source blaring at you, finding yourself looking for a disc you can take your shoes off to and buddy up with, here, my friends, is precisely what you want.'