Tish Hinojosa

Taos to Tennessee

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A beautiful simplicity graces the early work of Tish Hinojosa. When mixed with a familiarity of Mexican/Texas border life, her country-folk leanings offer a fresh slant on the genre. Her debut, Taos to Tennessee, presents the same lovely songwriting and vocals that would characterize her recordings for the next several years. With ease and grace she opens with Peter Rowan's mystical classic "Midnight Moonlight," and follows with "Prairie Moon," a gentle Western ode complete with cowboys, whiskey, and a silver moon. A couple of noteworthy items set her songwriting apart. She never forgets, as on the title track, to write a catchy melody, and the musical accompaniment perfectly underlines the spare Western landscape she paints with her lyrics. Hinojosa sings in Spanish on "Amanecer" ("Daybreak"), a practice she would continue on later albums, and she offers good interpretations of several writers' songs, as with James McMurty's "Crazy Wind and Flashing Yellows." Lyrically, Hinojosa sets forth a number of poignant lines that subtly integrate the desolate land with the lonely souls that inhabit it. On "The Highway Calls" she sings, "Just one more drink to bring back a mem'ry/Or maybe forget where you've been," and captures the ambiguity of the unsettled life. Taos to Tennessee succeeds on every level, establishing Hinojosa as a vital artist with a distinctive vision.

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