Tish Hinojosa

Retrospective

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By her own admission, Tish Hinojosa is an artist who resists easy classification -- she can follow up a traditional Mexican folk song with a easygoing Texas 2-step, and then fade into a personal song about love that wouldn't be out of place in the catalog of Nanci Griffith or Emmylou Harris. But there are a few things that tie together Hinojosa's body of work -- the natural beauty and grace of her voice, the supple sensitivity of her songwriting, and the soulful (but never histrionic) passion that she brings to her music. Hinojosa has been making fine records since 1987, and Retrospective is a compilation that brings together 18 songs (seven in Spanish) from nine of her albums, making this the first comprehensive overview of her career. The set includes three tunes from 1987's Taos to Tennessee (her self-released debut album which was later reissued by Watermelon in 1992) on through to two from 2000's Sign of Truth, but Retrospective doesn't sound like an album that spans three decades of recording -- the material sounds remarkably cohesive, and the intelligence, wisdom, and superb craft of these twelve-and-a-half performances is consistently winning throughout. This is a lovely exploration of Tish Hinojosa's body of work for longtime fans, and anyone looking for a concise introduction to her music would do well to treat themselves to this disc. (Retrospective does have one rather disconcerting mastering glitch -- the spoken introduction to "Reloj (Clock)" appears at the end of "Manos, Huesos y Sangre (Hands, Bones and Blood)," as it did on the original release of Aquella Noche. However, on this compilation, "Reloj (Clock)" is track seven and "Manos, Huesos y Sangre (Hands, Bones and Blood)" is track thirteen!)

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