In 1972, Aztec Two-Step, whose name comes from a poem by beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, burst upon the scene with their self-titled debut album on Elektra Records. Since then Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman have spent a lifetime making music together as the folk-rock duo Aztec Two-Step. Their first album, along with their subsequent albums for RCA Records, were staples of progressive FM and college radio and helped to bring the folk-rock music of the 1960s into the 70s and beyond.
As their recording and touring career continued, so did the critical acclaim. They have been praised in countless major US newspapers and magazines, including Rolling Stone, and have appeared on TV and radio shows such as David Letterman, King Biscuit Flour Hour, and World Café Live. They have graced the stages of myriad venues, including those of NYC’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.
In 1987, “Living in America” received the New York Music Award for Best Folk Album and was named in Billboard’s year-end critic’s poll. Rex and Neal released their first live album “Highway Signs” on the PRIME-CD folk label in 1996 in celebration of their 25th anniversary, and in 1999 they were the subjects of the documentary, “No Hit Wonder,” which aired on PBS. To commemorate their 30th anniversary in 2001, they released a double CD compellation entitled, “Live & Rare” and in 2005, released “Days of Horses” CD to rave reviews. Of this release, the Boston Globe said, “Fans of the duo’s harmony-driven tunes and easygoing acoustic guitar riffs will recognize their James Taylor-meets-Simon & Garfunkel sound. What’s new is the mood. This album sits back on its haunches as Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman look back wistfully at American pop culture and their own ride through it.”
To celebrate their 35th Anniversary, the duo performed their debut album in its entirety along with other ATS classics at Center for The Arts in Natick (MA), which – along with in-depth interview conducted at the venue – was released on DVD as “Live at TCAN: The Aztec Two-Step 35th Anniversary Concert.”
In 2012, to commemorate their 40th Anniversary, Rex, Neal and longtime bassist Fred Homan, went into the studio to record “Cause & Effect.” The album is a combination of re-worked previously recorded songs and newly mined material. From John Platt of WFUV in New York, “The secret of Aztec Two Step’s longevity isn’t just the harmony between Rex and Neal, it’s also the quality of the songs. On “Cause and Effect” they revisit a lot of their repertoire with crisp acoustic arrangements. And while the songs were mostly inspired by a specific moment in time (Reaganomics, apartheid, John Lennon’s assassination), they resonate anew today.” Celebrating their 45th Anniversary this year, Aztec Two-Step remains one of acoustic music’s most beloved and enduring acts.