Corazones Y Murallas (Hearts & High Walls) (Cayuse Music)
This long-planned project marks a bit of a departure for master string slinger and blues veteran Tim Williams, flashing back to his roots growing up in the San Pedro district of Los Angeles, his Hispanic friendships, and his feelings on recent Mexican-American border politics.
It’s a sublime trip into quasi-Tex-Mex territory with five originals and five covers, instrumentals, too. Gently flowing songs take on a blunter tone when you follow the words, ranging from David Hidalgo’s love ballad for a divided couple, A Matter Of Time, to Woody Guthrie’s look at the exploitation of Mexican workers, Plane Wreck At Los Gatos (Deportee).
Several tracks are delivered in Spanish, including Williams’s plea for would-be immigrants, Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes), translated in the booklet. Tijuana Mama is actually a spare, upbeat blues. Then there’s Mexican singer/guitarist Jossy Gallegos and her awesome vocal on Sabor a Mi.
Williams adds cavaqhino, bandurria, and more to his usual mess of acoustic and electric axes, leading a mix of “imports” such as Gallegos, Tremoloco guitarist Tony Zamora, and Texas accordionist Roberto Rodriguez, matching grooves with the “home crew” from Alberta, bassist Kit Johnson, drummer Kevin Belzner and others. You wish it was longer because it’s timeless and topical all at once.