Tag Archives: reviews

DC Reviews: Jay Perez ~ New Horizons

The Voice, Jay Perez, is back with a new production, New Horizons. The 12-song release is quite the piece of work, produced by Grammy-winning Gilbert Velasquez and supported by Freddie Records. Perez’s recent works have been on mostly indie labels, but his new label provides a lot of backing in regards to marketing and promotions. The tried-and-true Perez style is not lost as Velasquez has worked with Perez many times before–even being a part of his original band.

Kicking off with Tu Ultima Cancion, Jay’s fans immediately hear the signature ranchera sound–keys, sax, acordeon and a hard-driving beat, and some great lyrics giving someone the kiss-off. Known for his slowed-down,  acordeon-driven zapateadas, Perez does not disappoint with the first single, Lo Tengo Que Admitir, an ode to the girl who gave him everything.

And the cumbia stylings do not disappoint, either, with their R&B flair. Demuestrame, with it’s catchy chorus, and Vivir Sin Ti, will definitely be live favorites. Especially Vivir, with some awesome percussion providing the rhythm.

Perez brings out a horn section, a-la Latin Breed, to give us a fine ballad, Tu Amor No Me Pertenece. The guitar, horns, and acordeon provide a smooth foundation on which Perez provides a soaring vocal.

Perez offers up plenty more signature rancheras to keep toes tapping and feet on the dance floor. Tengo Miedo and Dos Caras with some powerful lyrics and smooth rhythms are some personal favorites. But Perez also dusts off a couple of songs previously done by the late Laura Canales during her comeback in the 90s. Amor Escondido,with a driving sax solo, and Yo Quiero Que Vivas Conmigo are very welcome by this Laura Canales fan.

Finally, Quien Te Dijo and Tu Partida close out the catalog on rancheras, showing Perez is very committed to keeping La Onda Tejana alive and kicking ass. Partida with an excellent sax/acordeon solo, and Quien Te Dijo with a driving ranchera rhythm. Finally, Perez closes the release with an R&B tune, All of Me, which shows off his vocal abilities.

Providing the power behind all of the tracks was Perez with some of the best vocals I’ve heard from him. The man just knows how to deliver lyrics in a way that makes the listener feel their meaning. Combined with a tight band, he is also able to deliver these songs live like few can.

Get your copy at just about any store that features Latin music, or online at Freddie Records.

About these ads

DC Reviews ~ Michael Guerra Band

Some may know accordion ace Michael Guerra from his days with Los Texmaniacs, Ruben Ramos, Rick Trevino, the Tex-Mex Experience, or his session appearances with Los Lobos, the Texas Tornados, Los Lonely Boys, or others. His recent work with Raul Malo and, now, The Mavericks, are what caught my attention in recent years. The guy is just plain good, as he’s been playing accordion since his mid-teens. Beyond that, he can play several other instruments, truly making his stage presence known.

Guerra and his band just released their debut and self-titled CD. Guerra has produced a style all his own, yet, one cannot help but notice the various influences, be it conjunto, rock, blues, mariachi, or country. It’s all in this eclectic production which fuses into something better than most attempts at “latin fusion.” This one has a special vibe to it.

Kicking off with Voodoo Lady, one notices the rock influences, with Robert Ybarra’s haunting guitar blending with Guerra’s accordion. One may think Los Lonely Boys, thus making the tune quite Texican, but it’s all Guerra and his band. The country tune, My Love’s Too Big (To Fail) caught my attention with the title (I’m in politics, sue me!). In this tune, one immediately notices Guerra’s San Anto influence.

The Los Lobos’ musical influence pops out with La Prietita Loca, with its cumbia rhythm. Of course, the hook, “La Prietita baila muy suave…pero cuando se junta con las chicas se pone muy loca,” is quite catchy. Dreams Gone Blue has a country-mariachi-trio feel to it with some excellent lyrics–and it sounds like it could have been picked up off the cutting-room floor of a Raul Malo CD and given its own flavor.

Let’s Try seems to have a style all its own with a slow rock groove, and is a good introducer to The Who’s Mama’s Got a Squeezebox. The Who could have used a Michael Guerra back then, who really shows off his technique on this tune, as done Ybarra on the guitar solo. On the next tune, Guerra returns to a country-esque/mariachi style with Break Away. The old-style music with modern lyrics make this a favorite.

Guerra does not forget the music that put him on the map–conjunto. And Que Viva Mi San Antonio provides a nice tune with quite the visual of partying in San Anto. Showing his partiality to trio/mariachi stylings, Guerra belts out the classic La Barca backed up by his acordeon, guitars and requinto, showing off his vocal abilities.

The bluesy-rock tune You Set Me Free shows off Ybarra’s guitar again, while telling the story of being set free by a woman who seems to have made the wrong choice.  Ain’t it always the way?

Guerra’s biggest influence and the reason for his music career is his dad Elias. Mike began toiling on various instruments before picking up the instrument that set the path for his career–the acordeon. That said, Mike brings in his dad for the final tune, Dame Un Nuevo Corazon, a gospel song with an acordeon-heavy bolero feel.

It is safe to say that this production is a venture through Guerra’s various influences, yet, it is his signature accordion which sets it apart. This is a great first full production for Guerra. Of course, he’ll have a hard time touring to support it since he’s working hard with The Mavericks at the moment. No doubt, he is going through some career-building experiences.