Artist: Carrie Rodriguez
Label: Luz Records
Release Date: 02/09/2016
For those approaching Social Security, Lola, will no doubt bring back mixed recollections of Ronstadt’s Cancciones de mi Padre (1987). There are similarities, the obvious being how the two voices sound alike on certain songs. But Lola has it over Linda as being a bi-lingual effort, gratefully featuring several of Rodriguez’s best songs to date.
With a breezy ranchera swing courtesy of the Sacred Hearts (Rodriguez, guitarist Bill Frissell, multi-instrumentalist Luke Jacobs, bassist Viktor Krauss and drummer Brannen Temple) Rodriguez presents this crowd-funded disc at what I’m ready to loudly argue is the peak of her sizable interpretative and songwriting abilities. Inspired by dreams of Mexican recording legend, Lola Beltran, and her own aunt, ’40s singing sensation Eva Garza, she blends the light and dark muses of the Southwest into a graceful and lasting whole. “Llano Estacado,” “La Ultima Vez,” (“You say you don’t like how I say your name/well I wish I had mine back“) and the cultural clash of “The West Side” (“Mama says that life’s not fair/we were born here and you over there“) set the tone for a compelling, ruminative disc that, by harkening back, walks us all a few steps forward. Add that to the in-arguable fact that Rodriguez has never sung better, and that Lola, like her most recent discs, have turned a brighter spotlight on her singing than her formidable violin, (fiercely holding its own on “Z”) and you’ve got yourself your first surefire winner of 2016.
– Mike Jurkovic