Look at a map, and you’ll see the physical border between Texas and Mexico fixed at the Rio Grande. But these two nation-states share a much more vast psychic frontier than a mere river. This hazy borderland is akin to an enormous salty delta with indistinct margins and tributaries running through just about every household in South Texas and Northern Mexico.
The spiritual capital of this place within a place is Tish Hinojosa’s hometown of San Antonio, a city where crossing borders is as natural to its inhabitants as breathing. Influenced by ’60s British Invasion pop as well as Mexican folk music, Hinojosa is one of the most accomplished genre-melders of the turf. She is simpatico with any number of Tex-Mex musical subsets, from Nanci Griffith’s literary self-consciousness to Butch Hancock’s Lubbock mysticism to Beto y Los Fairlaines’ hopped-up conjunto.
Sign Of Truth the latest in a string of 11 lovely records, is a great-sounding disc, with lots of wide-open prairie ambience (props to Lloyd Maines for his astral twang pedal steel guitar) and plenty of room for Hinojosa’s crystalline voice to shine. You want beautiful singing, it’s got that in spades. Tasteful roots-pop arrangements, it’s got that, too — even some soul-style inflections on the horn-driven “Wildflowers” and “Faded Souvenirs”. And of course, dignified and well-meaning humanistic sentiments are a given with Hinojosa.