Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Gerardo Ortíz – El Cholo

For those who doubt accordionists can be badasses…


Josh Langhoff: Accordionist Marito Aguilar is a badass of Randy Rhoads proportions, in that I imagine certain young shredheads — albeit with diametrically opposing hairstyles — buying the CDs of Gerardo Ortiz or Ozzy Osbourne just so they can retire to their bedrooms and dissect the flurries of fingers. Aguilar is the best reason to hear Ortiz’s latest album; given free reign by the star, the studio pro came back with some jaw-dropping chromatic French cafe shit. The drum sound, boomy but articulate, makes me wonder whether someone found a way to mic Luis Navarro’s sticks. Otherwise, Ortiz’s living-the-good-life corrido is… good enough. It’ll be an eternal singalong anthem for Sinaloa partisans, same way I still get a kick from hearing Nelly shout out Plaza Frontenac.

Thomas Inskeep: Fairly generic Norteño. Reportedly about El Chapo; without a more interesting song, I reportedly don’t care.

Alfred Soto: The star is the rhythm, unwilling to settle for “super steady” or any of that crap. It matches Gerardo Ortiz’s pride in ethnicity — he won’t settle for “super steady.”

Brad Shoup: He’s written about El Chapo before, so I can’t peg this as a cash-in per se. And my favorite narcocorridos narrow on the don strolling his estate, soaking in the adulation of the town. But Ortíz doesn’t swing nearly as much as his band does, and he draws things to a close before he thinks people can notice.

David Sheffieck: Sugary sweet and almost too short; as soon as I get into the groove Ortíz is wrapping things up in a rush of energy. But since I was barely along for the ride to begin with, there’s nothing much to miss.

Rebecca A. Gowns: A sloppy ode to a cartel kingpin, loping and dragging. If we’re going to stoop to these depths, why not inject the proceedings with a bit of adrenaline, or at least a sense of winking irony?

Ramzi Awn: A beautiful voice paired with beautiful instrumentation is hard to beat. I want funnel cake. And I want to dance. The song could be twenty seconds long, and it would work. The fact that it survives 2 minutes plus is noteworthy. A good effort surely.

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