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CD REVIEW: Tara Linda - Tortilla Western Serenade
By Don Sechelski - 06/27/2010 - 09:25 PM EDT

Artist: Tara Linda
Album: Tortilla Western Serenade
Label: Physalia Records
Genre: Cojunto, Tex-Mex, World
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Best Songs: Virtual Love Disaster, Leavin' Texas
CD Review: Tara Linda is back with a new release to follow up her debut CD, Tara Linda and Luna Nueva. (See my earlier review for a description of Cojunto music) Tortilla Western Serenade the result of collaboration between Tara Linda and Grammy award winners Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca of Los Texmaniacs. Tara Linda and Luna Nueva was a look back at the Cojunto traditions as well as a salute to some of the legendary stars of Cojunto. Tortilla Western Serenade is a look forward to the melting pot that is Cojunto music is today.

Tara wrote all the songs for this release and describes the music as a blend of Spaghetti Western, Tex-Mex, and rock. She's joined by legendary accordionist and 7-time Grammy Award winner, Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca of Los Texmaniacs on bajo sexto. Al Gomez of West Side Horns plays trumpet while Grammy winner Bobby Flores contributes steel guitar, violin, and viola. Az Samad plays guitar, Sean Rogers is on bass, and Rene Garcia plays trombone. The ensemble is rounded out with Henry Gomez on Vihuela, Pedro Hernandez on guitarron, and Michael Ramos on drums and keyboard.

Tara's expressive vocals are framed perfectly by this band of all-stars. From the sultry Muse's Duel with it's spicy Spanish guitar and trumpet solos to the two steppin' Terersita with it's brisk accordion and soulful violin, this is an album that conjures up visions of sleepy, dusty desert towns with endless blue skies and cantinas that serve very cold beer. Crossroads is one of my favorites along with the rock tinged Leavin' Texas but there are many great choices here.

If you're looking for that next big sound in pop/country music then check out Tortilla Western Serenade. If you're already hip to some of the other great tex-mex bands like Los Lobos and Calexico, then you will love Tara Linda.

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