Viva Bandolera (Bandolera Records)
Over the course of six LPs since 2001, Patricia Vonne has demonstrated time and again that although she's surrounded by über talent – including celebrated Austin film director Robert Rodriguez – the Austin Music Awards-winner holds her own. On this compilation of Spanish cuts from her oeuvre, the local Bandolera infuses a modern rock twist into her area of expertise: traditional flamenco. Like a true Tejana, Vonne turns Country & Western into Country & Latin, bottling her passion in a culturally rich context. Tracing her life with a booming voice, the singer grieves over the passing of her grandmother on "Severina," while "Mujeres Desaparecidas" tackles the ongoing femicide in Ciudad Juárez. Spain's fiery spirit is prominent in "Torero" and "Fiesta Sangria," functioning as capsules of transport into Vonne's own family roots. Viva Bandolera's backbone – the local's signature castanets – carry the album, delivering a sound rarely found outside of Mexican telenovelas. Bravo.