Santa Cruz River Band
The new Santa Cruz River Band release is The Mexican Album. It's entirely in Spanish, and the material consists mostly of Mexican traditional songs. But in the feel of its straightforward vocals and trio harmonies, elegantly emotional and never over the top, it's not a major departure from the trio's earlier releases. Several of the songs ("La Golondrina," "El Sinaloense") are ones that you may have heard in the background in Mexican restaurants, and it's a joy to hear them without the stylized exaggeration with which they've been overlaid both in Mexican pop traditions and in the American imagination the band members say that they just recalled songs they heard at campfires and family gatherings when they were younger, and they sing them naturally. The meanings of the words should yield easily to some high school Spanish or a bit of explanation they contain a lot of repetition, and their themes of love and of exile go straight to the heart.
The Santa Cruz River Band comes to the Ark among the few clubs in the state, aside from Latin dance halls, that regularly present the music of Latin America on Wednesday, October 31.
[Review published October 2007]