Well, here I am... a year later, a year healthier, and with an album under my belt!! If someone in 2016 would have looked into a crystal ball and told me that I'd be releasing an album in a year, I would've laughed (or maybe cried) them off their chair. But yet, here I am. Say hello to Land Baby!
Land Baby is about movement – not only physical and geographical movement, but also emotional and cultural. I was raised on a ruggedly beautiful but isolated sheep ranch in Northern New Mexico, with my parents’ 1960s and 70s folk and rock record collection to keep me company. I grew up hearing both English and Spanish and speaking Spanglish. The stories, customs, and traditions of my childhood were rooted in the distinct culture of northern New Mexico: a deeply complex mixture of old-world Spanish, Mexican, Native American, and Anglo-American ways of being, all held together by a deep connection to the land.
When our family wasn’t hiking across the mountains behind the sheep, we were in our living room having rock n’ roll dance parties led by my Dad. The Doors, The Beatles, The Supremes, Simon and Garfunkel, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash and more melded with local spanish polkas and chotizes played on the piano by my great-grandfather, the classic country and bluegrass fiddle tunes of my grandmother, and the Garth Brooks-era country and Mexican rancheras and corridos that wafted over the local radio waves. The haunting and mournful alabados of the penitentes at our local religious ceremonies provided a beautifully mournful undertone to the wild, pulsing freedom of the landscape, and the beats of our neighbors in the Pueblos and on the Navajo and Apache reservations permeated the oftentimes dusty air.
I left New Mexico at 18 and headed out into the world. I spent my 20s in transit: Appleton Wisconsin, Washington D.C., Granada, Spain; Milwaukee, Chicago, and finally, six years in San Francisco. I did all the things you’re supposed to do in your 20s: I lived, loved, learned, made music, and danced my socks off. I met amazing and interesting people, began and ended relationships, and forged strong friendships. Family secrets were revealed and dynamics shifted. I learned about new cultures and fell in love with new music. I sang Mexican rancheras on the streets. I was questioned about my cultural background. I confused people with my answer. I got knocked down a few times but always found a way back up through my music.
This movement – across land, across time, across cultures and languages, and through emotional space – is what this album is about. People still ask questions about my identity. I try to explain it with words, but my answer never stays completely still… and so I just sing it instead!
I'm a land baby, desert baby
Cactus-eatin' sand lady
A land baby, desert baby
Cactus-eatin' sand lady... ;-)