Visulite Theatre (16+ (Must have ID) - Under 16 with Parent Only)
Doors Open: 7:00 - Show Starts: 8:00
Tickets: $30.00 (Advance) / $35.00 (Day of Show)
ON SALE NOW! - Presented in conjunction w Maxx Music
Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino return in 2022 with their luminous 10th studio album, El Mirador; a hopeful, kaleidoscopic beacon of rock, bluesy ruminations and Latin American sounds, to be released on April 8. Convening at longtime bandmate Sergio Mendoza's home studio in Tucson, Arizona, the ensemble recorded throughout the summer of 2021, crafting one of their most riveting and whimsical productions to date. Convertino, who now resides in El Paso, and Burns, who relocated to Boise in 2020, channeled cherished memories of Southwestern landscapes and joyful barrio melting pots into an evocative love letter to the desert borderlands that nourished them for over 20 years.
“El Mirador is dedicated to family, friends and community,” says Burns; singer, multi- instrumentalist and co-founder of Calexico. “The pandemic highlighted all the ways we need each other, and music happens to be my way of building bridges and encouraging inclusiveness and positivity. That comes along with sadness and melancholy, but music sparks change and movement.”
Oscillating between haunting desert noirs and buoyant jolts of cumbia and Cuban son, the album is permeated by longing. The title track conjures images of a lighthouse, beckoning to lost souls in the night with hypnotic bass lines and cascading percussion. That same search for meaning and safety carries over onto “Cumbia Peninsula,” a soaring dance floor epic about confronting our fear of the unknown. The song weaves themes of immigration, a world in turmoil, and the virulent manipulation of information; never offering a diagnosis but wholeheartedly advocating for unity and compassion as a treatment for our social ills.
“El Mirador” features gossamer vocals from Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno, while Spanish rocker Jairo Zavala brings his signature bravado to “Cumbia Peninsula.” By working with friends and recurring collaborators, Calexico also highlights the unique social and linguistic intersections at the US-Mexico border and the magnificent possibilities of a borderless world. “The album is trying to convey openness,” adds Burns. “Look around you. If you're in the North, you need a South to live in balance. We're all breathing together.”
“There is romance in this music,” says Convertino, Calexico's drummer and fellow co-founder. “When I was driving out to Tucson to work with Sergio and Joey, I didn't have any specific song ideas in mind. I was searching for a vibe and a mood.” The instrumental “Turquoise” perfectly captures El Mirador's atmospheric universe, where swirling rhythm guitars and distant horns recall dark, heavy skies, almost echoing the record-setting monsoon season that engulfed Arizona during their studio sessions.
Burns and Convertino have been performing together for over 30 years, sharing a deep love of jazz and usually building songs on a foundation of bass and drums. But all these years later,
Calexico is still breaking new ground. El Mirador showcases a sunnier side of the band, cutting through two years of pandemic fog with a blast of danceable optimism. Writing and recording alongside Sergio Mendoza (keys, accordion, percussion), the album expands on long running influences of cumbia, mariachi and the plethora of diaspora sounds flourishing throughout the Southwest.
“I've been playing with Calexico for about 15 years, and I admire Joey and John's constant search for new sounds,” reflects Mendoza, who’s newly built home studio became a refuge for the band and reduced pandemic risks while fostering a more organic creative process. “After so many albums,” he adds, “I'm really proud we were able to achieve something so fresh together.”
Mendoza was born and raised in Nogales, where he soaked up the classic cumbias, rancheras and corridos that soundtrack daily life at the border. This rich melange of influences translates into the effervescent “The El Burro Song,” complete with mariachi strings, slide guitars and zapateado performance that transports the listener to a papel picado-decorated backyard party. On “Liberada,” piano and Cuban percussion provide an exuberant canvas for a universal tale of resilience, where even in the face of adversity, celebrating your uncle's 80th birthday always comes first.
Calexico delivers one of their most loving desert anthems on “Cumbia del Polvo,” enlisting a production assist from frequent collaborator Camilo Lara, who infuses the song with his signature wizardry of electronic beats, organic instrumentation and otherworldly backing vocals. El Mirador's all-star guest list is rounded out by poet Pieta Brown, who wrote “El Paso” and “Then You Might See,” as well as Iron & Wine's Sam Beam, who provides backing vocals on the fluttering choruses of “Harness The Wind.”
El Mirador stands both as a lookout point and beacon in the dark; an opportunity to search inwards, ponder our connections to the Earth and its people, and hopefully illuminate a path forward. After decades on the road Calexico's music remains boundless and romantic, still gazing upon the horizon in search of their next adventure.
Start Time: 8:00
one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden is the name of the second album by Canadian songwriter Alexandra Levy, publicly known by the moniker Ada Lea. On one hand, it’s a collection of walking-paced, cathartic pop/folk songs, on the other it’s a book of heart-twisting, rear-view stories of city life. Ada Lea has followed up the creative, indie-rock songcraft of her debut what we say in private with surprising arrangements and new perspectives. The album is set in Montreal and each song exists as a dot on a personal history map of the city where Levy grew up. Due on September 24th from Saddle Creek and Next Door Records in Canada, the physical record will be released alongside a map of song locations and a songbook with chords and lyrics, inspired by Levy’s love of real book standards.
Levy penned and demoed this batch of songs in an artist residency in Banff, Alberta. After sorting and editing she made her way to Los Angeles to record with producer/engineer Marshall Vore (Phoebe Bridgers) who had previously worked on 2020’s woman, here E.P. After a long walk to the studio each morning, Levy spent her session days diving into the arrangements, playfully letting everything fall in place with complete trust for her collaborators. She notes “Marshall’s expertise and experience with drumming and songwriting was the perfect blend for what the songs needed. He was able to support me in a harmonic, lyrical, and rhythmic sense.” Other contributors that left a notable fingerprint on the soundscape include drummer Tasy Hudson, guitarist Harrison Whitford (of Phoebe Bridgers band), and mixing engineer Burke Reid (Courtney Barnett). Many songs came together with a blend of studio tracks and elements from the pre-recorded demos.
The resulting sounds range from classic, soft-rock beauty to intimate finger-picked folk passages and night-drive art-pop. And the textures are frequently surprising due to the collage of lo-fi and hi-fi sounds that tastefully decorate the album without ever clouding the heart-center of the song. Tracks like “damn” and “oranges” feel timeless with their AM gold groove and 70’s studio sheen, while songs like “my love 4 u is real '', “salt spring” and “can’t stop me from dying” sound completely modern in their use of electronics, sound effects, and pitched vocals. In their subtle, sonic variety, all of the album’s songs flow together with ease into one big, romantic dream for Levy’s silken vocals to float above.
Inspired by personal experience, daydreams, and Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, the lyrics of one hand... center storytelling on a bigger scale. The experience and emotions of a year are communicated through Levy’s vignettes of city life. Her prose is centered in its setting of the St Denis area of Montreal as it draws up memories from local haunts like Fameux, La Rockette, and Quai des Brumes in rearview reverie. Levy creates a balance through the album’s year by splitting her songs evenly into four seasons. Opening track “damn”, as a song of winter, kicks off the narrative with the events of a cursed New Year’s Eve party. Immediately this timeline becomes jumbled into a Proustian haziness. The listener is then led through the heat-stricken, brain fog of Summer song, “can’t stop me from dying” and then into the autumnal romanticism of “oranges” before returning back to New Year’s on “partner,” which Levy describes as “a woozy late-night taxi blues reflection on moments when timing can be so right, yet so wrong…”. These collected stories as a whole chart the unavoidable growth that comes with experience. “All is forgiven in time. All is forgotten in time. And when the music stopped, I heard an answer” (from “my love 4 u is real”).
Whether to consider these songs fiction or memoir remains unknown. On one hand, Levy says “Why would I try to write a story that’s not my own? What good would that do?” but on the other hand, she is quick to note the ways that language fails to describe reality, and how difficult this makes it to tell an actually true story. The poetic misuse of the word “sewing” in the album’s title serves as a nod to the limitations words provide. What does it mean to sew the garden? And how can we appreciate its carefully knit blooms when the rearview mirror is so full of car exhaust?