REVIEW: Tish Hinojosa Is New Branch on Austin Folk-Country Tree


Austin is home to a distinctive tradition of folk-country, a tree that runs through the legendary Townes Van Zandt and Nanci Griffith today. I’d been listening to some of this music recently, and, when I played Tish Hinojosa’s new album, West, I connected her to this tradition. Unsurprisingly, Tish does in fact reside in Austin.

Hinojosa’s voice is quite similar to Griffith’s. There’s a softness to their delightful Texan accents, like a hint of oregano in a marinara, only enhancing, but never overwhelming. (Griffith’s is far more noticeable when she speaks; I haven’t heard Hinojosa’s speaking voice.) I listened to much of Hinojosa’s catalog, and her voice has lost none of its beauty.

This is especially fortuitous given what Hinojosa has been through in the last several years, since her last release, 2013’s After the Fair. Returning to Austin after a decade in Germany, Hinojosa faced the breakup of her marriage, then went through two serious surgeries. This backstory makes her song “My Good Guitar” all that more compelling.

In “My Good Guitar,” Hinojosa sings about a treasured handmade acoustic she repaired, comparing it to herself. It is a love song about a musician and her instrument, and it is also a song about resilience. “Though we are weathered,” she sings, “we’ve both pulled through.” It celebrates the beauty that can come from the broken and damaged: “Music flows from cracks and scars.”
I related strongly to this song, and it affected me deeply. For me, at least, West is worth getting just for “My Good Guitar,” but there’s lot of good stuff here. Hinojosa and her producers, Marvin Dykhuis and Chip Dolan, have created a gorgeous album, soft but passionate, perfect for going on an emotional journey on a quiet day.  Get your copy here.

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