Evelyn Rubio : Crossing Borders Review
Evelyn Rubio is releasing her new album Crossing Borders. The blues-rock saxophone player and vocalist has teamed up with a host of A-list musicians, including Fulcher’s Phantom Blues Band buddies Mike Finnigan (keys), Tony Braunagel (drums) and Johnny Lee Schell (guitar), as well as former Spirit bandmates Al Staehely (guitar) and Mark Andes. Added to that mix are world-class guitarists David Grissom (John Mellencamp, Joe Ely, The Allman Brothers Band, Dixie Chicks) and Josh Sklair (Etta James). On this recording, the Houston-based Latina Ms. Rubio has a genre-expanding, soulful stew of blues, R&B, and rock to satisfy any musical taste. It also includes three bonus tracks sung in Spanish to round out the album. Produced by Grammy-winner Larry Fulcher, who also plays bass on the date, Crossing Borders is being released on the SeaSpeed Productions label. “Crossing Borders is an album in which I allowed myself to explore different sounds from what I had been doing,” says Rubio. The album explores blues, R&B, and rock and includes a song from the Latin music repertoire, “Besame Mucho.”
“One More Last Time” opens the album. This song was recorded in Austin with guitar player David Grissom, Kirk Covington on drums, Red Young on the keyboard, Zach Person on the second guitar, and Larry Fulcher on the bass. The Austin sound is an excellent fit for Rubio’s soulful singing, and the track sets the tone for all the great music to come. The band certainly inspires Rubio. She states, “Their energy gave me the punch to deliver my interpretation with my voice and saxophone.” That energy can be heard for sure.
“Border Town” was recorded by the legendary Houston music engineer Andy Bradley at Wire Studios. Rubio is joined by two members from the 70s rock band, Spirit, Al Staehely on guitar, and Mark Andes on the bass, accompanied by Brandon Jackson on drums, Barry Seelen on the keys, and Cordray on the guitar, which sadly passed a few weeks after this recording. With a ballad ethereal opening, the song segues into Rubio’s heartfelt saxophone playing. With a relaxed blues vibe, Rubio sings the emotional lyrics. Her sensual voice is smokey and expressive as the band plays with heart.
Crossing Borders is a blues album that expands past the traditional blues borders. “Blues can be sung in Spanish, and a Latin song can be sung in Blues,” Rubio says. That theme of expansion is in all twelve tracks. The various bands are excellent, and Rubio’s singing and saxophone playing are in top form.
May 15, 2020