Singer-songwriter Lisa Morales draws from a creative palette informed by the rhythms, colors and flavors of the Southwest — from the painted-desert skies of her native Tucson, Arizona, where she and cousin Linda Ronstadt grew up, to the sea-salted air of Houston, where she moved at 18, and the history-filled city of San Antonio, where she now lives.
Touring most of 2018-2019 with Los Lonely Boys, Los Lobos, and Lila Downs, Morales continues to record and release music sung in English, Spanish and Spanglish, conveying the promise of new beginnings and confirming that she is a woman in touch with her emotions and inner power.
Lisa Morales’ cover of While My Guitar Gently Weeps released on August 2nd this year features long-time friend and inspiration David Hidalgo from Los Lobos and touring mate Henry Garza from Los Lonely Boys on guitars. It all begins with Morales’ arching vocal and classical guitar work augmented with acoustic fretwork from David Hidalgo and Austin string wiz David Pulkingham.
This uplifting remake of the Beatles favorite beams from Hidalgo and Garza’s weaving guitar soul and Morales’ nuanced vocal interpretation. Further contributions on the recording come from Roscoe Beck (Leonard Cohen, Robbin Ford) on bass guitar, Michael Ramos (Mellencamp, Patty Griffin) on keyboards, and Damien Llanes (Los Coast) on drums.
Morales released her Luna Negra and the Daughter of the Sun album in 2018 garnering this quote, “One of the most multifaceted artists to watch in 2018.” in Rolling Stone. Produced by Michael Ramos (the BoDeans, Patty Griffin) who plays accordion and keyboards the album also features guitarists’ Charlie Sexton (Bob Dylan), Adrian Quesada (Grupo Fantasma, Prince) and David Garza (Juliana Hatfield, Fiona Apple). Los Lonely Boys bassist Jojo Garza and Los Lobos drummer Cougar Estrada round out the core band. Both Garzas also provide backing vocals. On “Avalanche,” a standout duet with the late Jimmy LaFave. and on “Strong Enough,” folk icon Eliza Gilkyson helps lift up the inspiring anthem of female empowerment with backing vocals.
On the album’s sole cover, “Pena, Penita, Pena” Morales taps into the pain of losing her mother, whose poetic influence permeates every song — especially those Morales sings in her mother’s native language. The song features lead guitar by David Pulkingham with Morales on classical guitar and Michael “Cornbread” Traylor on bass. Though Morales, who discovered the song while her mother was dying of cancer, imbues it with sadness, she makes it sound like a gentle sunset serenade — and reports proudly that when she played it for her cousin, Ronstadt responded, “I would have definitely recorded that!”
Morales recorded six albums as one-half of the duo Sisters Morales before releasing her solo debut, Beautiful Mistake, in 2012.
Morales’ live performances include shows at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, World Fest, Festivals in Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, and tours with Los Lobos, Los Lonely Boys, Rodney Crowell, Allison Krauss, Merle Haggard, George Strait, and Lila Downs.