Daniel Cervantes is singer, songwriter and frontman for blues rockers Mrs. Henry, and like other San Diego music scene MVPs, his name shows up on various projects. He's also a member of Creature and the Woods, and he was one of the songwriters who helped make Birdy Bardot's debut the best local record of 2015. Cervantes also performs with Bay Area psych-rockers Howlin Rain, so it's not just San Diego where you'll find his music.
It's perhaps because of such a diverse set of projects that Cervantes' main project, Mrs. Henry, ends being so eclectic. On a basic level, it's a rock 'n' roll band, and one that doesn't get too bogged down in trends or of-the-moment subgenre tourism. It's rootsy, earnest music made with guitars, and though there's nothing groundbreaking or all that forward thinking about it, it's extraordinarily easy to like.
That being said, the band's new album Otay gets off on a remarkably silly note. Leadoff track "Retro Speakers" is a bar-band blues rock number whose lyrics I can't imagine being sung with a straight face: "I've got my blue jeans on baby/ Blue jeans never go out of style/ Now those blues I got baby/ They won't be around for a while." It's not that I don't enjoy the song on some level, but Mrs. Henry are unapologetically schlocky on "Retro Speakers."
Getting some of the dad-rock cliches out of the way early, Mrs. Henry clears plenty of room to start making considerably more interesting sounds throughout the rest of the album, from the psychedelic fuzz-funk on the outstanding "I'm in Love" to the Dylan- and Young-style folk rock of "Taste of Honey," and from the instrumental freakout "Looking for Madge" to the glam-rock stomp of "In My Head."
Otay, taken as a whole, feels a lot like a celebration of rock 'n' roll throughout the ages, be it campy, noisy, rustic or just plain weird. And though many of the styles here recall those of the í70s and earlier, a great rock 'n' roll song, much like a pair of blue jeans, never go out of style.