Patricia Vonne,
Guitars & Castanets
(Bandolera, 2005)

What do you get when you mix flamenco and rock?

A mix singer-songwriter Patricia Vonne terms "Texas border rock." Whatever some might choose to call it, the Austin, Texas-based Vonne's second album is highly energetic, volatile and very listenable music.

Combine her soulful voice, a theatrical style reminiscent of Cher, rhythmic guitar and outstanding accompaniment, and you have an exhilarating musical experience. Mixing an edgy rockabilly style with South-of-the-Border flavoring makes an evocative and passionate combination.

If you're put off by a lack of Spanish, not to fret. Only three of the 10 tracks are in Spanish. Guitars & Castanets also includes a bonus track, "Traeme Paz," featured in the film and soundtrack album for Once Upon a Time in Mexico, which was directed by her brother, Robert Rodriguez.

Vonne came to music after earlier ventures in dance, modeling and acting. A third-generation Mexican-American, she says she writes some songs in Spanish in an effort to help preserve the language. Those themes echo those she writes about in English.

A number of the songs on this album are tributes to family members and others who have influenced her, including the title track, dedicated to Alejandro Escovedo; "Joe's Gone Ridin'" for Joe Ely and "Sax Maniac" for Johnny Reno.

Among those providing back up on the album are Robert LaRoche, her husband, on guitar and vocal; Michael Hardwick, electric guitar and lap steel; Charlie Sexton and Joe Reyes, electric guitar; Scott Garber, bass; and Rafael Gayol, drums.

by John R. Lindermuth
14 October 2006

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