“I’m gonna find me a new song to sing,” Tish Hinojosa said on the title track of her new album, “West.”
Hinojosa describes the collection as inspired by the detonations of an incoming thunderstorm cutting through an incandescent sunset during a road trip through Tuscon, Arizona.
This is Hinojosa’s first LP since 2013’s “After the Fair.” Since returning to her native Austin, Texas, she endured the end of a marriage and major surgeries. The singer-songwriter's current set of music is an attempt to heal from those wounds.
Hinojosa’s Saturday concert at The Shedd extends this rehab to benefit Centro Latino Americano. Since its 1972 founding, Centro has served as the primary source for the social and civic integration of the Latino population in Lane County. Serving more than 600 families annually, Centro describes their mission as empowering this population "by providing opportunities and building bridges for a stronger community."
Hinojosa’s rebound comes through in the classic country-flavored “West.”
“Music flows through cracks and scars,” Hinojosa sings on a tribute to “My Good Guitar,” about her fissured, prized acoustic guitar purchased in 1992 that serves as a metaphor for life’s slings and arrows.
“Though we are weathered, we’ve both pulled through,” Hinojosa trills on the track.
After a fallow four years, a revitalized Hinojosa wrote a number of new songs, playing them for longtime collaborating guitarist Marvin Dykhuis and piano/accordionist Chip Dolan then enlisting the rest of her band — fiddler Gene Elders and pedal steel player Marty Muse along with bassist Glenn Kawamoto and drummer Rick Richards — to record them at Fire Station Studios in Texas.
The youngest of 13 children born to Mexican immigrant parents, the singer-songwriter has dedicated her career to Southwestern music. She began with Tejano tunes before moving onto folk, border music and pure country.
“West,” her 17th LP, reminds listeners, though, that Hinojosa was an Americana performer long before the term gained its mainstream popularity. Her 1989 debut album, “Homeland,” in fact, recorded for the Americana imprint of A&M records.
On “West,” both guitar and owner sound as good and vibrant as ever.
Hinojosa’s sound has an appeal that has drawn accolades that include playing at the invitation of President Bill Clinton and teaming up with artists like Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, Pete Seeger and Los Lobos.
Through the songwriter’s intimate style and personal trials, “West” has plenty of blood on its tracks, but Hinojosa still manages to let the positive shine through the thunderclouds.
“The journey hasn’t always been easy,” she said. “These are our life’s adventures. Sometimes we hit it good; sometimes we hit it bad."