sound check

February 24th, 2011 |
By Michael Swanger

Tortilla Factory


Tortilla Records

If you watched the memoriam portion of the televised Grammy Awards, you might have caught a glimpse of Tony “Ham” Guerrero, who died Jan. 29, two weeks before the awards ceremony. Trumpeter and founder of the groundbreaking, Austin-based, Tejano group Tortilla Factory, his band’s latest album, “Cookin,” received a Grammy nomination for Best Tejano Album, the group’s second nomination in the category since 2008. Though “Ham” was too ill to sing on “Cookin,” family members Bobby Butler “El Charro Negro,” Alfredo Antonio Guerrero and Laura Guerrero fill in nicely, maintaining the band’s mix of Tejano, Chicano, funk and soul sounds that feature mostly Spanish lyrics as well as English language raps (“This Connection,” “In My Heart You’ll Stay”). Of note to Iowans, Newton native Adam Fields plays keys on the album and serves as co-musical producer of this multi-cultural affair that grows stronger with each track. CV


Gaelic Storm


Lost Again Records

It has been said that Gaelic Storm’s festive live show is the reason every album the group has released during the last decade has reached the top three on the world-music charts. Judging by the honest sound of “Cabbage,” one can only deduce that the Celtic rock quintet has another hit record on its hands, not to mention another set of new music that should translate well live. Steeped in all-things-Irish, from the artwork of band members posing with cabbage, to its acoustic sound and tales of Irish struggles, “Cabbage” includes tunes about painful ancestry (“Raised on Black and Tans”), poor gambling (“Blind Monkey”), enchanting Irish beauties (“Green Eyes, Red Hair”) and booze (“Just Ran Out of Whiskey,” “Rum Runners”) with the kind of festive vibe that makes every day feel like St. Patrick’s Day. CV

(Gaelic Storm plays Friday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. at the Val Air Ballroom. Tickets are $25 through Ticketmaster.)