On the phone, Tish Hinojosa is not long on words. But the Texas singer-songwriter, who weaves her tunes from a patchwork of folk, rock, country, swing and Tex-Mex influences and delivers them in a crystal-clear voice, seems to do most of her talking through her low-key and beautiful music. Over the years, Hinojosa has recorded in English and in Spanish and in mixtures of each, made one album of music for children and several for adults, and toured with a trio of Texas songwriters/musicians, among other things. But however she's presented herself, it's always been to high praise. And plenty of folks around Denver will be giving thanks Saturday night when Hinojosa returns to the Swallow Hill Music Hall for a Thanksgiving weekend show that's become something of an annual tradition.
No big deal, Hinojosa says: She has a sister in Fort Collins to visit on the holiday, and Swallow Hill happens to be along the way. Our gain. The shy troubadour is always a delight, no matter what time of year, and the release this week of a new Christmas CD, From Texas for a Christmas Night, makes her performance here all the more timely. It also keeps things lively for Hinojosa, the kind of musician who's not quick to label herself.
"I guess I'm pushed down into the roots bin too much, but the Tex-Mex thing is only an element of what I do -- it's not the whole picture," she says of stereotyping by the media. "My first love was pop music and folk, back in the '70s, when I started listening to artists like Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Neil Young. It was a good time; that whole movement brought forth a generation of people who were writing their own songs. Today artists write their own songs, and the young people who listen to them just take it for granted."
Hinojosa plans to just keep writing songs, too, and let things fall where they may: "The cool thing about music is how one thing influences another and hybrids are created," she notes. "It's a blessing and a curse to have my foot in several different camps, but it makes for an interesting career."