“I’m gonna find me a new song to sing,” declares Tish Hinojosa on the title track of her new album, West, the first since 2013’s After the Fair. Since returning to Austin, TX, from a nearly decade-long sojourn in Germany five years ago, Hinojosa has had to heal, both emotionally and physically from a shattered marriage and a pair of serious surgeries. That rebirth comes through in this classic country-flavored collection, co-produced by longtime collaborators Marvin Dykhuis and Chip Dolan at Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, TX.
Both guitar and owner sound as good as new and vibrant as ever, given the evidence on West, its title song inspired by an epiphany experienced by Tish during a road trip through Tucson, AZ, where she viewed a dazzling sunset followed by the rumbles of an incoming thunderstorm.
After a fallow period of four years, Hinojosa was suddenly revitalized, writing a number of new songs, playing them for guitarist Dykhuis and piano/accordionist Dolan, then enlisting the rest of her crack band — fiddler Gene Elders and pedal steel player Marty Muse, who bring that classic country sound, along with bassist Glenn Kawamoto and drummer Rick Richards, to record them.
The result reminds us that Tish Hinojosa was Americana long before the term took hold, recording her debut 1989 album, Homeland, for the A&M imprint by that very name (Americana), which also boasted folk singer/songwriter/guitarist David Wilcox and Cajun poet Zachary Richard.