ittle Joe & La Familia has been one of the most popular Tex-Mex
bands in the music industry. Little Joe has been entertaining more than
40 years and has been described as the "KING OF THE BROWN SOUND". He has
also helped pioneer "Tejano"music, a mix of traditional"norteno" music and country,blues and rock styles.
Jose Maria DeLeon Hernandez "Little Joe" was born to Salvador "La
Cotorra" Hernandez and Amelia DeLeon Hernandez in a three wall dirt
floor car garage in Temple,Texas on a cold stormy night on October
17,1940.He was the 7th child of 13. In 1953,Joe's cousin, David
Coronado, who fronted the band "David Coronado & The
Latinaires"recruited Joe for guitar,Cino Moreno on drums and Tony
Matamoros on saxophone to join his band.
In 1955, Joe would
play his first musical performance in Cameron, Texas for $5.00 at a high
school Sock Hop. He was so excited, he realized that picking guitars
beat cotton picking and he could actually get paid for it. In 1958,Joe
would make his recording debut as a guitarist for Terro Records in
Corpus Christi,Texas,an instrumental single "Safari part 1 and 2"which
was composed by all members of the Latinaires.
In 1959, Jesse,
Joe's young brother who was the bassist, singer and songwriter would
join in the band as David Coronado was leaving. Joe took over the band
renaming it "Little Joe & The Latinaires".
In 1964, Jesse
was killed in an automobile accident. Joe then made a vow at Jesse's
gravesite to carry his music to the top;not realizing how high his music
would take him, how it would open many doors for other artists or how
he would set many trends.
In the 60's, Joe would sign with the
Texas based independent record companies, starting with his 1st record
deal, Corona Records in San Antonio, next Valmon records in Austin and
later Zarape Records in Dallas. Joe ventured into his own independent
label"Buena Suerte Records" for spanish recordings and"Good luck
Records" for his english records. Also to follow would be Leona Records,
a label also owned by Joe and a distribution deal with Freddy Records
in Corpus Christi,Texas which would keep Joe independent through the
70's and 80's.
In 1970, after playing and spending much time
in San Francisco and the bay area, Joe discovered "Latinismo", a strong
latin musical world which was not found in Texas at that time. It had
profound change in his music and his cultural values which prompted him
to change the name of his band from The Latinaires to "La Familia". Joe
wanted more knowledge on his heritage and his roots.
with Sony Discos, he wouldbe a 2 time Grammy nominee,and in 1992 would
recieve the GRAMMY AWARD for "Dies y Seis De Septiembre" for the BEST
MEXICAN-AMERICAN PERFORMANCE CATEGORY in 1991. Part of his vow to Jesse
would be fulfilled.
In 1983, Joe signed his first major record
deal with WEA International. After leaving WEA,Joe would once again go
independent and form "Redneck Records" where he recorded the live Double
Album"25 Silver Anniversary" in 1985. This album was placed with CBS
which later became Sony Discos International.
Sony the following year, going independent again, Joe would recieve his
3rd Grammy nomination for his 1st recording"Que Paso" under his record
label, Tejano Discos International.
In 1996,Joe would appear
on the 1997 Grammy nominated album,"Frank Yanovich and Friends,Songs of
the Polka King,Vol. 1 in which he performed a duet with Frank Yanovich
on the song "Just Because/Si Porque".
Currently,Joe has signed
a co-venture deal with his company. "DeLeon Publishing" and "Peer Music
Limited Publishing" in an effort to bring a major publishing outletfor
Texas songwriters extending pubishing work to 33 countries.
Recently,Joe signed with Capitol EMI. His 1st recording became a Grammy
Nominated album entitled Little Joe 2000.Aside from his music career,
Joe has worked in the film industry starring intwo feature films,
Proposition187, A deadly Law, and "Down for the Barrio".
Years......and over 60 albums later, Joe is touring the world,
trailblazing, looking forward to new challenges, breaking down cultural
and musical barriersand innovating his musical stlye. As always,Joe
strives to bring many people together to make a more peaceful and