With a voice of focused intensity and pure tone, a rootsy folk-rock vibe and a Latin/Southwest sensibility, bilingual singer-songwriter Lara Manzanares’s debut original album Land Baby weaves a tapestry of geographical, emotional, and cultural landscapes, describing stories of passion and comedy that cut to the heart – and motivate your soul to move.
12 original tracks
1. Land Baby
2. Census Song
4. Writing Letters
5. El Poeta
8. Love in the City
11. The Wire
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 Catholic penitentes at our local religious ceremonies provided a deeply beautiful and melancholic 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 twenties 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 twenties: 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. People asked me about my cultural background and those who were unfamiliar with the history of New Mexico were oftentimes confused by 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 cultural identity. I try to explain it with words, but my answer never stays completely still… and so I sing it instead.
"I'm a land baby, desert baby, cactus-eatin' sand lady, a land baby, desert baby, cactus-eatin' sand lady!"
Album: LAND BABY
Music and Lyrics by Lara Manzanares
Produced by Jono Manson
Recorded and Mixed by Jono Manson at The Kitchen Sink Studios
Mastered by David Glasser at Airshow Mastering
Lara Manzanares (lead and background vocals, acoustic guitar, shaker on Lobito, footfalls and insect noises on Land Baby), Jono Manson (lead electric guitar, background vocals), Mark Clark (percussion), Justin Bransford (bass), Jordan Wax (violin on Writing Letters), Char Rothschild (trumpet on El Poeta, accordion and trumpet on Borderlands), Rafael Herrera (cowbell on Lobito), Raquel Covarrubias (guiro on Lobito), Felix Peralta (lead electric guitar on Lobito)
CENSUS SONG CHORUS:
Jordan Wax, Jono Manson, Justin Bransford, Char Rothschild, J. Michael Combs, Claire, Ezri, and Victor Roybal, Felix Peralta, Chessa Peak, Adam Warniment, Jr., Joaquin Houston, Francella Manzanares