Tish Hinojosa | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Tish Hinojosa

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Born into a family of Mexican immigrants and raised in south Texas, Tish Hinojosa was exposed to a wide variety of sounds as a kid, and her organic absorption offers a stirring testimonial to America's hybrid tradition. Nominally a country artist, she aimed for Nashville in 1983, only to leave dejected and frustrated a few years later. After that Hinojosa pursued her own path, ignoring mainstream country's strict formulas and retreating to rural New Mexico before settling in Austin, notorious home to multidirectional musical misfits. Ironically, after five albums on a variety of labels, her most recent release, Destiny's Gate (Warner Brothers), sports a Nashville address. She shifts seamlessly from folky stuff to jumping honky-tonk romps to cumbias (an all-Spanish-language recording is forthcoming on Rounder), and the album frames it all with a gloss that unfortunately renders some of her more delicate ballads a bit syrupy. But Hinojosa's crystal-clear soprano outshines the glop, and her keen sense of melody lends an effective hookiness to the proceedings. And she sings about love, whether it's for another person or the Texas countryside, with a refreshing succinctness--a definite contrast to Nashville's cheese-whiz sentimentalizing. Without studio luster impeding the songs, her performance should sparkle. Butch Hancock also performs. Saturday, 7 PM, FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn; 708-788-2118.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Peter Nash.

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