As American as apple pie and Canciones de mi Padre
The latest release of the Tucson-based folk band, Ronstadt Generations, entitled America, Our Home, is out. The album is a collection of patriotic songs interpreted in bolero, cumbia, and son jarocho styles – a distinctive, made-in-Arizona sabor Latino – including such classics as America the Beautiful, The Star-Spangled Banner and This Land is Your Land.
Ronstadt Generations is comprised of Michael J. Ronstadt and his two sons, Michael G. and Petie. The trio has performed with a variety of artists, such as Los Lobos, Muriel Anderson and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, among others.
The talented Michael J. is perhaps best known as the brother of the legendary Linda Ronstadt, whose album, Canciones de mi Padre, made U.S. record history as the biggest selling non-English language album.
For America, Our Home, Michael senior assembled a cadre of musicians and, in just four days, the songs were arranged and recorded in Tucson, Arizona, at Jim Brady Recording Studios. Francisco Gonzales, master harpist, former musical director of Teatro Campesino and co-founder of Los Lobos, played a key role in arranging the songs.
The national non-profit, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), supported the production, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit its endeavors. Besides sharing an appreciation for patriotic songs and Hispanic heritage, MALDEF vice-president, David Damian Figueroa, collaborated on the project as a featured vocalist and executive producer, along with Michael J. Ronstadt and Mary Lou Fulton.
Figueroa, raised in Yuma, Arizona, exemplifies the deep-seated love for the motherland expressed by the tracks on the album. “I was a Mexican American kid raised in a border town to believe that the American dream was attainable for all who were willing to work hard for it. My dad served in the military. Three of my most valued possessions are his dog tags, his election official pin and the American flag that draped his coffin,” he stated.
The sentiment is also shared by Mary Lou Fulton, also a featured vocalist. “My mom is a Mexican immigrant and is the most patriotic person I know. Her closet is filled with T-shirts, tote bags and other gear bearing the American flag. She didn’t speak a word of English when she immigrated, but she went on to become an American citizen, earn three college degrees, raise two kids, work as a school teacher for 30 years, and teach her students to have pride in our country.
America, Our Home is available on iTunes; check it out.