1987-88 saw the birth of a beautiful girl and Craig finished his 1st year of law school at UNM in Albuquerque.
Thanks to my sister's guest room, and Craig's already well honed negotiating ability getting him into U.T. law school(gracias a dios y Dean Aleman), we found ourselves in Austin. The excitement, uncertainty, and exhaustion of the move must have pressed on a creativity button. It was during this period that I wrote, to use a Marvin Dykhuis phrase, “A butt-load” of songs. These songs helped get me signed to my first major label deal with A & M Records, thanks to the persistence of Patrick Clifford, rocker-come-culturesurfer. But just as important, they introduced me to what have become an intimate circle of friendships and support whose talents and company continue to be an intricate part of my world, namely Marvin Dykhuis and Rose Reyes.
Memorabilia Navidena (1990 and re-released in 1991)
Homeland got us a band, a van, lots of road miles, airline miles, our introduction to a European audience and a “platinum record in Korea” where we also visited. I was still writing wild and had recorded a project called Culture Swing with my band, Booker T. Jones as producer with appearances by Kris Kristofferson and Albert Lee. A brief phone call from A&M left me label-less.
While in Korea, I had written a Christmas song. As my sisters stuffed Tamales to prepare for Navidad – I stuffed homemade cassettes and covers into boxes for friends and relatives. I took one to John Kunz at Waterloo Records. He called me later that day and asked if I could make some more for him to sell at Christmas time. John fronted the duplication (we had done the first 60 at home). We ended up selling nearly a thousand in a week, donating the proceeds to “La Peña” a non profit arts organization, started by the owners of Las Manitas Cafe. I had seen them serve the Austin community well. That made my Christmas!
Aquella Noche (1991)
John Kunz and Heinz Geisler's new-ish venture, Watermelon Records offered me a creative outlet for some welled up ideas. Craig finished law school that spring. We threw him a great surprise party at Las Manitas Cafe. Aquella Noche was recorded through 3 impromptu nights at Waterloo Ice House. Celebrating “Cinco de Mayo” (one of Mexico's two independence days) by featuring an evening of all Mexican songs was something we'd started a couple of years before. On this occasion, I actually called up John at his record store, Waterloo Records, Austin's perinnial fave, a day or two before the show, and asked him what he thought about recording the show in a record-quality way. He offered to back it personally or do it on the label he co-owns–Watermelon. John had done a similar favor for me a few months before on my impromptu holdiay record (see first Memorabilia Navidena). This quick project gave me a chance to record songs that weren't necessarily part of my regular performances, but certainly, pieces of my life.
Taos to Tennessee (1987 & re-released in 1992)
Taos to Tennessee – the original self release – was a quickly assembled collage of songs compiled loosely from '80-'87. These years represent my New Mexico years and a new appreciation of country and Texas music. During this period I came into a realization of my own independence and creativity, but also an awakening to the “glass ceiling” of my specific environment and of hopes that Nashville connections represented. Craig Barker, who I met early in that time, had changed from bass player to booking agent, to road manager, and manager, through this period in addition to becoming my husband and father of our toddler son. Burned out playing the national college circuit, with no recordings to sell because of the illusive record deal right around the corner, and pregnant again prompted 2 decisions: Law school for Craig and a recording project for me.
Culture Swing (1992)
Culture Swing, the project canned by A&M, emerged on Rounder Records, thanks to some creative stalking by the irrepressible Ken Irwin. This time recorded on a significantly smaller budget, a different mix of songs, was also made closer to home at the same studio where we made Homeland. Although, we were soon reminded of some quirks and phantoms in the wiring that had haunted us at the old Fire Station in San Marcos during Homeland's recording, we felt comfortable and familial there. Even both kids acquiring chicken pox during the sessions didn't affect the work. It was great to be able to turn the break room into a recovery room.
Destiny's Gate (1994)
Back in the major label saddle again. This was largely due to Lionel Conway at Maverick, who signed me to a publishing agreement and introduced my work to Jim Ed Norman at Warner Bros. Nashville, who signed me to his Progressive Music (non-country) part of the label. I feel very fortunate that Jim Ed has given my format-challenged music a home. This recording bridged my past to the present, Austin to Nashville, and remained pretty eclectic.
Frontejas was the first of two special projects (after Culture Swing) on Rounder, in a pleasant twist in music biz where Warner Bros. and Rounder worked cooperatively to allow us to do the projects. With this record I was able to pay tribute to Dr. Americo Paredes, UT Professor of Anthropology Emeritus, a seminal voice in the academic study of Mexican-Americanism who inspired the first wave of Chicano Studies programs (see my liner notes introducing the record). I was also able to showcase the many dimensions of The Border, including that part of the culture especially particular to my own experience.
Cada Niño (1996)
This one was very important to me. Children are simultaneously a tough and sensitive, perceptive audience. Balancing the message, the words, the instrumentation and the arrangements were de gran importancia. I'm very proud of the age-mixed group–6-to-60–that played on this record.
Cinco Puntos Press has released a songbook for Cada Niño. You can order it from their web site.
Dreaming From The Labyrinth
(Soñar Del Laberinto)(1996)
An introspective work. Deeper roots than Roots. The inspiration of music textures and lyrics surfaced from my intrigue with Mexican history, literature, mysticism and it's universal connection. The bi-lingual weaving of the lyrics was not only an enjoyable challenge for me, but also an extension to the connection.
I enjoyed recording this all-Spanish version of Dreaming from the Labyrinth. The mystical qualities already in the record take on an added dimension for me when expressed all in Spanish.
Sign of Truth (2000)
“Sign of Truth” emerged after a four year absence from recording. Although I made appearances and hit the road during that time, many changes were taking place in my world. The slow sale and high cost of “Dreaming from the Labyrinth” lost my Warner Bros. record deal, so went publishing and booking too, then management, then my marriage. These years taught me a lot about self-reliance and will. Not having been very involved in the business side of my business before, I panicked, worried, cried. Then, I rolled up my sleeves, located a willing booking agent to keep me working, cut off my long hair and embarked on the adventure of self-management.
These songs embrace my always hopeful romance and optimism, but also step inside some darker corners of chaos and turbulence brought on by personal upheavals and change. I sent demos of my latest writings efforts to Rounder Records and signed on with them once again. Marvin Dykhuis and Chip Dolan, my longtime road and studio champions, helped me produce this collection. The arrangements, sound, and production of this CD, I feel, are among the best of all my recordings. While “Fence Post” best explains the effects of the storms, Chip's “Song for the Journey” welcomes the acceptance of things. However, “Wildflowers”, in its Monty Python meets Pablo Neruda in Las Vegas arrangement (Marvin's mad genius) helped me smile then, and always will.
The Best of Tish Hinojosa - Live (2003)
Over time, songs seem to create their own identities and personalities. That, along with the singer evolving too, has changed the dynamics of many of my songs as we play them show after show, year after year. This CD was recorded live one summer evening in Austin, Texas, 2002, in the intimate and familiar setting of the Cactus Cafe. The songs I chose for the set were mostly decided by the list of frequently requested songs, but I also took the opportunity to do a little make-over and update of a few and introduce a little something new as well.
It was great to be surrounded by some of my familiar stage buddies: Robert Madden Dolan, Glenn Kawamoto, and of course, El Maestro, Marvin Dykhuis. It was also so nice to welcome some wonderful musicians, who had played on early recordings: Danny Levin, who played piano and wrote most of my string arrangements and played them, from “Homeland” through “Dreaming from the Labyrinth”. Marty Mews played pedal steel guitar, Arturo Garza added percussion. I was very happy to welcome Santiago Jimenez jr., who had played on “Frontejas” and came in from San Antonio to accompany us on this recording. Not wanting to play only the standard, we added a new little bluegrass style ditty and a beautiful old Mexican ballad.
A Heart Wide Open (2005)
There are certain songs I wrote over the years that seemed to have shied away from the spotlight. Some made it as far as record production discussions, experimental demos, arrangements and re-arrangements, records came and went and these songs would rise, then quietly retreat into their respective places in my heart. What I felt these pieces needed was the company of the right songs that would compliment, contrast, and invite them to find their place in the world outside of my heart and my head.
In 2002, I began a mission to fill in the missing components. In 2004, I felt this garden had blossomed. Together, the brand new and the already existing songs painted the many colors of my life's landscape: love's light and dark shades from intimate to cosmic, and lessons learned on war, struggle and peace through my own family's stories. I framed theses with musical sounds I have loved: jangly 60's electric guitar, laid-back country, a little jazz, rhythmic latin and even reggae.
I was helped greatly with the musical and production talents of Marvin Dykhuis and Glenn Kawamoto, of long admired artists and friends: Flaco Jimemez, Ray Benson, Michael Hearne from New Mexico (guitar solo on “Lock and Chain”), and Cindy Cashdollar. Also with contributions by many of Austin's legendary stage and studio cast: Chip Dolan on keyboards and accordion, Marty Muse on pedal steel guitar, Javier Chaparro on violin, Chris Searles and Rafael Gayol on drums, and with additional touches by Eddy Hobizal on piano, Arturo Garza, and Phill Bass on percussion. This project was completed with the colorfully aestetic design by Lance Shriner and the multi-dimensionally talented Sara Hickman.
It was so exciting to see this music evolve into “A Heart Wide Open”. I'm so delighted with this recording – I hope you like it too.
A multi-label retrospective featuring 18 songs spanning the past two decades encompassing all of the musical disciplines and traditions from which she has sung. Tish has not only drawn upon her own familial background experiences, but from Taos to Tennessee and all points Texan. Having written songs that have been part impressionism and part realism, throughout it all, Tish has sung of hopefulness and with heart
Our Little Planet (2008)
As a child in Texas in the 1960's, apart from being drawn to the Mexican music pouring out of our family's kitchen radio, I was also captivated by television's country music shows with entertainers like Tennessee Ernie Ford singing simple but heartfelt lyrics and sweet harmony. Later, in the 1980's, with a music career in progress, I had another encounter with country, when I found employment as a demo singer for a Nashville publishing company while also trying my own hand at songwriting.
In recent months, I began to feel a longing to recapture some of those country sounds that had touched my heart years ago, and I wrote a few songs to satisfy this feeling. As fate would have it, I found unfinished songs from several Nashville chapters of my life. I enthusiastically completed and polished some of these up to introduce them to the new songs that would accompany them on this recording. I hope you will enjoy listening to it..