My favorite Onda Chicana legend is back with a new production recorded right here at Houston’s Jaz Trax Studio. Johnny Hernandez recently released the digital version of his newest CD, Paz Mundial, issued by his label, Stronghold Records. It’s available on CDBaby for your convenience. Hernandez released the title-track during Independence Weekend; a call for world peace, but also dedicated to those who serve in the military.
The Tejano music legend, recently nominated for three 2014 Tejano Music Awards for his last CD, Aventurero, worked with local producer/guitarist Vick “Nash” Espinoza on his latest work. Hernandez, known for his smooth, blues-infused vocals, is still on top of his game as a vocalist and performer and gave us another one to add to the collection.
With eight rancheras, two ballads, and the R&B-styled title track, the CD will leave folks more than satisfied. Add some horns, some great guitar, and some amazing harmonies and Hernandez has given us another winner.
The current single, Le Escribo Al Amor, is the kind of ranchera that established Johnny as a soloist and has already gotten his fans excited. Una Noche Mas and Cuando Me Vaya, with their horn-foundations and harmonies remind one of that big band sound from the 70s. Te Voy A Amar and Tonto are memorable rancheras with infusions of that R&B/old school sound. Quisiera is an acordeon-heavy Tejano tune with some amazing lyrics. Me Gusta and Ana round-out the rancheras and they are equally great.
All this said, the tune that really got me going was Cuando Yo Me Este Muriendo–one of those baladas rancheras that makes you break out the gritos and maybe shed some tears. Espinoza’s guitar and the horn section provide something close to a mariachi sound as the singer calls on his friends to not shed a tear when he dies, but to find a mariachi and celebrate. It’s definitely my kind of song. The CD closes with Cada Vez, a love ballad with beautiful piano accompaniment and a sax solo that all will enjoy.
As I’ve written before, Johnny is one of my Facebook friends and I got to actually met him a couple of years ago at a local gig. What he gives you in person, he gives you in his music–his heart and soul. So, Paz Mundial is a must-get for the collection.