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article imageInterview with singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa Special

By Adrian Peel     Mar 19, 2014 in Music
The Mexican American singer-songwriter recently returned to Texas after a number of years living abroad and late last year released her 15th album, 'After the Fair'. She talks to Digital Journal.
Though having never quite achieved the level of mainstream success her wonderful talents deserve, 58-year-old Tish Hinojosa is nevertheless an extremely well loved and very widely respected artist. As an enduring testament to this, her most recent record After the Fair has received rave reviews worldwide, including a five-star rating in popular English magazine Country Music People.
Released on September 3rd, 2013, After the Fair includes heartfelt originals ("
Infinity Times Ten," "Cobblestones" and "Tu Cancion") and other well-known tunes given something of a Tex-Mex makeover ("Deportee Plane Wreck At Los Gatos" and a Spanish-language version of Paul McCartney's "A Certain Softness," entitled "Me Captivo Con Su Mirar").
I caught up with the delightful and very talkative musician, surely one of the most consistent songwriters the Lone Star State has ever produced, at her home in Austin and asked how her latest long-playing effort came to see the light of day.
"The latest album, that I recorded in Germany, was released here in the States in September and in Europe in November," she explains. "This record kind of caught me off guard - I had a lot of personal issues going on in my life. Right at the time the record came out, I was moving back to the US from Germany. My German husband and I are divorcing, that kind of stuff...
"I lived in Austin for many years before moving to Germany in 2004. I spent nine years over there and so this is like my return to Austin, kind of resurfacing in the music community on a permanent basis. It's been nice - I've been here since July and going out listening to a lot of music and being around so people know that I'm back. I've been playing a lot more locally, around Austin and around Texas.
"I love the record and I'm really proud of it, so I look forward to getting out there on the road and selling it more."
Since releasing her first album,
Taos to Tennessee
, way back in 1987, the San Antonio-born daughter of Mexican immigrants has impressively combined country, folk, blues, rock 'n' roll and Tex-Mex music to come up with an appealing mix that fits right in with Austin's highly eclectic music scene. Upon listening to After the Fair, I noticed less of a country influence this time around. Is that a fair assumption?
"Yes..." Tish pauses, "Country's always been an interesting label for me... I know in the past I have paid more tribute to country and my 2009 record, Our Little Planet, was a kind of tribute to country, bluegrass and Tex-Mex, but there's always a little bit of everything on my records...
"I could go to a country dancehall, or honky tonk, and probably do a whole night of country music, which would be a lot of fun. But on the other hand, I could play all Mexican music some night if I felt like it. I enjoy eclectic music myself and I could never listen to too much of one kind of music..."
"There's a song on there that has like a Buddy Holly beat. It's called 'Doing What I Can' and that definitely has a very country, rockabilly sense to it. But a lot more of the record is kind of introspective and about my experiences having lived in Hamburg for nine years.
"There's a little bit of a Beatles influence because I lived in the neighbourhood where The Beatles lived and worked when they were spending their developing years there. Actually, I translated a Paul McCartney song into Spanish and I felt very, very happy with that. It's a song called 'A Certain Softness', which is on his 2005 record Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.
"The first time I heard that song, I said, 'This should be in Spanish' because it has a little bit of that Latin beat and it's so romantic. So I made sure I got that on the record. I had a very creative German producer, Moe Jacksch, who was a musician that I met while I was there and he played a lot of gigs with me while I was in Germany."
Discussing the title of the new album and comparing it to her previous work, Tish recalls, "The title of the album is from the song that I wrote with a popular German journalist and composer, whose name is Detlef Diederichsen. He was one of the very first musicians I met in Hamburg in 2004.
"I was in my honeymoon period of being in Hamburg at that time and there's a travelling fair that comes through there three times a year, and it's no small fair either - it's huge. It's like the biggest portable fair in the world...
"Luckily I lived like two blocks from where they would set it up, so it sounded really fascinating for me - wonderful and very romantic and a very old-fashioned kind of fair. One of the first pieces of Hamburg that I got to know was that fair. It's called the Dome and that quickly became one of my favourite things there."
Even though she penned the tune in 2004, Tish felt that it seemed out of place on the other two albums of original material she put out during her lengthy German sojourn, 2005's A Heart Wide Open and the aforementioned Our Little Planet (an 18-track compilation, Retrospective, came out in 2006), and chose not to include it.
"I'm so glad that I held on to the song," enthuses the free-spirited songbird, hinting that she made the right decision, "because it's a perfect title song for this particular record because, well, 'After the Fair' means kinda like 'after the party'. Not that I wanted it to work out that way, but it ended up being my farewell to Hamburg, rather than my 'Hello and Welcome...'"
After the Fair is out now.
For more information, visit Tish's official website.
More about tish hinojosa, After the Fair, Texas, MexicanAmerican, Austin texas
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