JULY 23rd, 2020 – I fell in love with the Spanish language and culture in high school. Not only was the class a hoot, but I couldn’t get enough of the rhythm, the poetry, the words themselves. When my sister gave me Selena’s 1995 album Dreaming of You for Christmas, I was instantly transported to el cielo (heaven). Fast forward fourteen years. Mexico City’s Evelyn Rubio crowns the stage like a queen, Crossing Borders among Latin rock, soul, torch-singer tunes, even a touch of pre-war blues greatness in her cover of “Besame Mucho.” She’s a triple threat, possessing beauty, talent and wit in equal measure. Her voice is vibrant and versatile, navigating the worlds of lust (explosive opener “One More Last Time”), love (“What A Way to Go”) and utter heartbreak (“I Don’t Understand”). The album contains fifteen total tracks – eleven in English and four in Spanish. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the latter tongue, the last three songs are Spanish versions of “Cruel,” “Border Town,” and Al Staehely’s “He Did Me Wrong, But He Did It Right.” With over an hour of marvelous music, this CD is sure to keep one wholly entertained. For a full and extensive list of co-performers, check the liner notes.
Evelyn also boasts superior saxophone skills and a resume that can’t be beat. Not only has she performed as a lead on children’s television shows, but also toured as Mary Magdalene in a Canadian production of Jesus Christ Superstar. After that, Rubio would leave the stage and tour with a rock band in Mexico, honing her skills on the sax and building those famous musical chops that everyone in the business raves about. She would also divide her time with a ten-piece orchestra in Mexico City so that she could take care of her mother and family. When Evelyn came to America to foster her musical growth, she would meet and record an album with Mr. James “Boogaloo” Bolden: B.B. King’s band leader and lead trumpet for thirty years. She performed with Mr. Bolden, and the two remain close friends. She went on to record the album Hombres in two separate versions: one in English, one in Spanish. It went on to debut on the Billboard charts at #1 Latin Pop, #3 Top Latin and #6 Blues.
Ever been hooked, whether on food, drink, or something that satisfies a different appetite? Evelyn can SO relate: “I’m addicted to the kicks. I’ve been trying to quit, but I’m still in a fix. I can taste you, baby, all alone in my room. I shake and I sweat, and I howl at the moon.” She claims she’s “walking away,” but still wants “One More Last Time.” Uh-huh. Por supuesto (of course). The awesomeness of this song cannot be overstated, whether on vocals, lyrics or instrumentation. All of them would blow Carlos Santana’s mind. So would the next track, “Still On Your Side,” and “Just Like a Drug.” That’s the trifecta, but “He Did Me Wrong” might pass them all up by several lengths. “I Don’t Understand” comes next – a beautiful ballad, but a downer stronger than Valium and alcohol. To get the party started again, “Mistake” and “Cruel” fit the bill. So does the dynamite cover of Latin rock hit “Besame Mucho,” with a classic sound hearkening to the early days of the blues. When these two genres mix, magic happens.
“The Blues has no Borders,” says Evelyn Rubio’s website, and she’s fantastic at crossing them!
Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 40 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.
Link to article: http://www.bluesblastmagazine.com/issue-14-30-july-23-2020/