Bianca DeLeon

Outlaws & Lovers

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A longtime cohort of southern Texas musicians such as Townes Van Zandt and Joe Ely, Bianca DeLeon paints a lovely series of heartbroken portraits with a style that is equal parts country & western mixed with "Tex-Mex" instrumentation. The use of flamenco guitars and accordion on Spanish ballads like "Carlos" is evidence of the fine musicianship on naked laments on loss, liquor, and love. "Mr. Whiskey" and "Merle," while not the crème de la crème within, are superb if formulaic country songs from the old pre-Stetson school of Merle Haggard and Dottie West. Backed by a large contingent of seasoned musicians, DeLeon saves the best for "Si Me Requerdas (If You Remember Me)." There is also a touch of humor included in the long-titled "Don't You Hate It When Your Date Gets Shot," but it doesn't cloud how attractive the performances are. A must have.

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