Tag Archives: johnny hernandez

Review: Johnny Hernandez ~ The Cottonpicker-An Odyssey

I just got done reading the autobiography of Chicano music legend (and friend) Johnny Hernandez. Titled The Cottonpicker–An Odyssey, Hernandez takes us through various phases of his life:  The kid who worked the cotton fields and went through a racist school system that left him in need of a formal education; the young teen dropout (I prefer pushout) who struggled job to job with a young family; the vocalist of an up-and-coming Chicano music band that made it big nationally and internationally; the successes of his songwriting and La Familia with him at the mic; the trials and tribulations that brought an end to the “Little Joe, Johnny y La Familia” era of the band; and his struggles as a solo act and a person.

All of this, along with familiar stories of family love, personal struggles with drugs, alcohol, women, and business, and much more make for a book that was hard to put down. Add some personal successes in overcoming these struggles, and finding success in the radio business, and one can’t help but to feel good that Johnny is still around and thriving.

What was the toughest read was Johnny’s depictions of his struggles with his brother. Frankly, I would think this is the part that people wanted to read most because for the longest time, people were too willing to blame Johnny for the “Little Joe/Johnny” break up. Like most band stories, there is much more to the story, and perhaps some bitter pills that we as fans must swallow. It is definitely an entry into musician life that we never experience.

Of course, disturbing to me were the challenges Johnny faced as he attempted a solo career after La Familia. Being met with unhelpful promoters, producing and marketing his own albums, and trying to keep a band together aren’t necessarily new stories in music. They are part the overall story of what became of the Tejano market, where (in my opinion) big corporations exploited Tejano music, picked favorites, and left the industry in disarray once the cash wasn’t as lucrative. For Johnny, adding the 800 lb. gorilla that he was no longer a part of the premier TexMex band (La Familia), and one can only imagine Johnny’s struggles.

As a fan of Johnny’s for a long time, I followed his solo career. I also noticed his long absence after his “big break” when Capitol EMI signed him, and his next return with various self-produced albums. This book fills in a lot of those gaps that many fans will appreciate.

I’ll also say that Johnny putting his story in print isn’t only good for the fans, but it’s good for Chicano history. Seldom has the story of our culture and music been put in print, especially by the people that make the music. I hope this is the first of many more projects put out by some of our graying, yet continuing, Tejano titans. Great job, Johnny!

Buy Johnny’s book at CreateSpace today.

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Special to DC: Robert Rivas Interviews Johnny Hernandez

johnnytachI think it’s pretty obvious that I’m all about promoting Tejano, Chicano, Tex-Mex music, but it’s also important to preserve the history of this musical genre. Thanks to DJ Robert Rivas, a little piece of Chicano music history has been preserved with an interview of the legendary (and friend of DC) Johnny Hernandez.

From Johnny’s background as a farmworker kid to his musical beginnings with Little Joe and the Latinaires to his solo career–and all the turmoil and struggle in between, which included political involvement with Cesar Chavez–Rivas navigates through an interview that answers a lot of questions, and almost seems cathartic for Johnny.

I’ve been a fan of Johnny’s since his La Familia days, but I was truly excited about his solo career which began in the mid-80s and took off in the mid-90s with the release of his “No Me Hagan Menos” album. For about an hour, the interview touches on a lot, but it’s never enough. The good news is that Johnny is working on an autobiography which will answer even more questions, I’m sure. I’m looking forward to it.

Here’s the interview:

 

The 2014 Tejano Music Awards Results

From the looks of all the pics I’ve seen, it looks like the 34th Annual Tejano Music Awards was a huge success. Congrats to the Texas Talent Musicians Association, and thanks for keeping Tejano music lovin’ blogueros like me in the loop.

Also, congrats to my good friend, the legendary Johnny Hernandez on his nomination for song of the year. I was going to request a recount, but decided to stay respectful and do like him and congratulate Elida Reyna on her win for Muevelo Asi. Also, a tip of the DC Sombrero to Dwayne Verheyden and The TexMexPlosion from The Netherlands on their win for Best New Artist (Group).

And the People of Texas have chosen:

2014 – 34th Tejano Music Awards Winners

Song of Year/Artist/Group
Muevelo Asi – Elida Reyna y Avante

Male Vocalist of the Year
Jimmy Gonzalez

Female Vocalist of the Year
Elida Reyna

Entertainer of the Year
Elida Reyna

Album of the Year – Tejano
EYA Nation – Elida Reyna y Avante

Album of the Year – Conjunto
Ayer y Hoy – Albert Zamora

Album of the Year – Norteño
Inolvidable – Solido

Vocal Duo of the Year
Jimmy Gonzalez/Elida Reyna – Canciones de Amor

Best New Artist – Male
Lucky Joe

Best New Artist – Female
Crystal Torres

Best New Artist – Group
Dwayne & The Tex Mexplosion

Lifetime Achievement Award
Bobby “El Charro Negro” Butler
Jimmy Edward

DC Reviews ~ Johnny Hernandez – Paz Mundial

johnnyhernandez5My 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.

johnnylinernotes

 

A Wish for World Peace ~ Paz Mundial by Johnny Hernandez

Save the Date: OCT 26 – Latina-American Women in Music Musical Extravaganza

Editor’s note:  This is something from the inbox which you should put on your calendar, as well as on your list of events to sponsor in 2014. It’s for a great cause and features some great entertainers. Contact my friend Valentina Estrada (contact info at bottom of post) for sponsorship opportunities.

 
lawim
LATINA-AMERICAN
WOMEN IN MUSIC (L.A.W.I.M.)
126 E. 1st Street
Deer Park, TX 77536

You are cordially invited to be part of a “Musical Extravaganza” at The TBH Cultural Arts Center, 333 S. Jensen Drive, Houston, Texas 77003 on Sunday, October 26, 2014 from 7 pm To 10 pm in support of battered and abused individuals.

The Musical Extravaganza is being organized by Latina-American Women In Music (“L.A.W.I.M.”) sponsored by companies and concerned individuals that desire to see a change.

richardL.A.W.I.M.” plans to include several Latina musicians & entertainers to be our guests for the Musical Extravaganza. Each of the Latina artists and entertainers bring a unique style of music! In addition, we will have influential keynote speakers: Richard Yniguez, Actor and Johnny Hernandez, Music Legend and Tejano Pioneer who will share their experience and views on Domestic Violence. (UPDATE:  Unfortunately, Johnny Hernandez will not be able to attend because of a previous engagement.)

johnnyIn addition, many community leaders, organizations and entertainment icons will be at this tremendous event to seal their commitment to support “L.A.W.I.M.” and offer their extraordinary talent and resources to this cause. Their enthusiasm and influential participation in the Latino community has inspired many to achieve higher goals and we are honored that they have committed and pledged their time to participate!

This Musical Extravaganza is expected to be a sell-out and be of great magnitude and become an historic event in Houston. In joining us in this charitable aim your affiliation and presence includes you as a part of making a difference and change in our world.

Proceeds from this event will be committed and used for the specific purpose of helping a Women’s Shelter to reach out and help battered and abused women in our community where the help is much needed and be of support of future events for various causes. “L.A.W.I.M.” has committed to continue the fight for human rights!

Your sponsorship and participation with this human rights event will have a real effect on lives in our communities. Please join us on this evening of great purpose; it will have a lasting impact!

We are thanking you in advance for your support and contribution.

For further information, please feel free to contact us!

Sincerely,

Valentina Estrada
Director of Operations & Events
LATINA-AMERICAN
WOMEN IN MUSIC (L.A.W.I.M.)
(702) 234-9606 – Cell
(360) 234-9608 – Fax 

 

 

DC Reviews: Johnny Hernandez ~ Aventurero

I like to boast that a Onda Chicana legend is a  friend of mine–I actually met Johnny Hernandez a couple of years ago and we like to chat about music and politics on Facebook. Well, the legendary crooner is back with a new production, Aventurero. Released on his own Stronghold Records, the full-length CD satisfies all types of musical tastes, but, ultimately, it’s Hernandez’s unique voice that delivers for music lovers.

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Thoughts on Viernes…03152013

The Rob Portman Thing

Well, it’s not surprising that a Republican changed his stance on gay marriage as soon as he found out his son was gay. I’ve seen this quite a few times from Republicans who all of a sudden found out how bigotry personally affects them. Too bad we don’t see more of this:  “OMG! I’ve got an ‘illegal’ maid (or gardener), I think I’ll become pro-immigration reform!” Or, at least not after Latinos kick their butts in an election.

Convenience “liberals” can be quite annoying.

“Scholars” Reduce Us To “Special Topic”

The insulting nature surrounding Dan Patrick’s SB1128 is obvious when he gets his “scholar” buddies to defend what they are doing by calling the courses they are attempting to delete “special topic courses.” US Ethnic groups are a “special topic,” now? These courses are certainly more American and Texan than what is usually taught because they are inclusive. The battle continues, I suppose.

MUSIC BREAK:  Johnny Hernandez – Aventurero from his new CD

Here’s some music from a Tejano legend who was recently racially profiled by Arizona Highway Patrol doing “ICE” work.