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Can't miss talent

Culture Swing
Culture Swing
By Tish Hinojosa

Rounder Records: 1992

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This review first appeared in the November 13, 1992 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Forget politics. The real "Year of the Woman" is happening in country music. Not only are Trisha Yearwood and Mary Chapin Carpenter tearing up the charts, but newcomers and up-and-comers like the young combo Ranch Romance, and singers like Southern California's own Deborah Liv Johnson and Heather Myles have been making waves with outstanding releases in 1992.

Add Tish Hinojosa to that list of can't-miss up-and-comers. Although no newcomer, Hinojosa is unknown to most country fans. But those who do hear her are likely to be blown away. Her border brand of music combines Tex-Mex with straight-ahead country for a fresh sound unlike anything you've likely ever heard. It's a sound that's firmly country yet has enough Mexican influences to evoke images of sundrenched adobe and the smell of roasting chiles. It's a sound that's strongly reinforced by the presence of guest artist artist Flaco Jimenez on accordion, who sounds a lot more at home here than he does on his own recent Warner Bros. release where he's surrounded by a bunch of rock stars.

She write songs the way Willie Nelson does – a beautiful combination of warm story-telling and gorgeous melodies. "In the Real West" is haunting folk-country song in a Johnny Cash kind of vein, while "San Antonio Romeo" is a bit of honky-tonk two-step you won't be able to get out of your head for weeks.

And if Hinojosa's greatest strength is as a songwriter, she also has one of the most beautiful, pure voices you'll ever hear. She just sings the heck out of her songs with as rich a delivery as exists this side of Judy Collins.