Bianca De Leon (US) – Dangerous Endeavor
release date: 2019
label: Lonesome Highway Music
promotion: Hemifrån (Peter Holmstedt)
© Rootsville 2019
Als een jong meisje in Zuid-Texas leerde De Leon tequila over de grens onder haar petticoats smokkelen, en ze raakte vertrouwd met het cantinaleven, met desperadoes en geheimen oscuros. Ze verliet de school en werd aangetrokken door de weg. Ze hing aan goederentreinen en woonde overal van Santa Cruz tot Sonora, van Nashville tot Bogota.
Deze “Dangerous Endeavor” is de opvolger van “Love, Guns & Money” uit 2016 en zo meteen haar 5de album. Verblijdend in Texas zijn ook op dit album de verhalen gebaseerd over de grensstreek met Mexico. Mede door de recentelijke politieke spanningen is zeker ook de titeltrack “Dangerous Endeavor” behoorlijk actueel te noemen. Je voelt de spanningen die Bianca op haar akoestische gitaar hier komen af te leveren.
Ook de viool loopt als een rode draad doorheen de nummers zoals bij het openende “Thorns Of A Different Rose”. Mooi zeijn zeker de ballads zoals “If You Just Had A Mirror” en het met country geïnfecteerde “(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle”. Een nummer van Hank Williams dat wordt opgevolgd door de original “Sad Corners Of Her Eyes”. Ook Van Zandt’s cover “White Freightliner” wordt hier met meer dan respect behandeld.
Acht van de elf nummers op deze “Dangerous Endeavor” zijn originals waarbij de verhalen niet zelden worden verweven met Bianca De Leon haar persoonlijke ervaringen. Prachtig album!
As a young girl in South Texas, De Leon learned to smuggle tequila across the border under her petticoats, and she became familiar with cantina life, with desperadoes and oscuros secrets. She left the school and was attracted by the road. She hung on freight trains and lived everywhere from Santa Cruz to Sonora, from Nashville to Bogota.
This “Dangerous Endeavor” is the successor of “Love, Guns & Money” from 2016 and immediately her 5th album. Stuck in Texas, stories are also based on this album about the border region with Mexico. Partly due to recent political tensions, the title track “Dangerous Endeavor” is certainly quite topical. You can feel the tensions that Bianca come to deliver on her acoustic guitar.
The violin also runs like a red thread through the songs as with the opening “Thorns Of A Different Rose”. Certainly the ballads, such as “If You Just Had A Mirror” and the country-infected “(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle” are beautiful. A song by Hank Williams that is followed by the original “Sad Corners Of Her Eyes”. Van Zandt’s cover “White Freightliner” is also treated with more than respect.
Eight of the eleven songs on this “Dangerous Endeavor” are originals where the stories are often intertwined with Bianca De Leon’s personal experiences.
23 Juni 2019 Bianca De Leon, Dangerous Endeavour
Bianca De Leon was in haar jeugd een wilde dame. Ik heb in Austin vernomen dat ze op haar 15e iets had met Townes van Zandt, ze hoorde als vertrouweling bij hem. Bovendien smokkelde ze tequila onder haar petticoat over de grens in het zuiden van Texas en leefde on the road, woonde overal waar de freight trains haar brachten. Genoeg inspiratie voor songs, dat zeker.
En die kwamen er, met ‘Dangerous Endeavour’ is Bianca aan haar vijfde CD toe. Daarop staan elf songs, acht originals en drie covers, te weten ‘Lonesome Whisle’ (Hank Williams), ‘Thorns From a Different Rose’ (Will Dudley) en ‘White Freight Liner’ (Townes). De muziek is, als altijd bij Bianca, een prachtige mix van Texaanse border ballads, countrywijsjes (zoals het prachtige walsje ‘Let’s Put The Dirty Back in Dancing’), Tex-Mex en een vleugje rock. De band is helemaal Austin: Hilary Adamson zingt op een nummer mee, John Inmon produceert (samen met Bianca) en bespeelt een flink aantal instrumenten, Richard Bowden speelt viool. Heel prachtig is het subtiele, klassiek mooi te noemen vioolspel van Javier Chaparro, David Webb horen we op piano en Fulvio Renzi speelt ook viool plus viola. De prachtige beeldende teksten bevatten indrukken van onderweg, verloren en gewonnen liefdes, verhalen over outlaws.
Bianca De Leon heeft haar magie nog lang niet verloren en bewijst dat ze met haar door het leven aangetaste stem en haar prachtige songs nog altijd tot het topsegment van de rijke Texaanse muziekwereld behoort. (Independent, Lonesome Highway Music)
Bianca De Leon was a wild lady in her youth. I learned in Austin that she was with Townes van Zandt when she was 15, she was a confidant to him. Moreover, she smuggled tequila under her petticoat across the border in southern Texas and lived on the road, lived wherever the freight trains brought her. Enough inspiration for songs, that’s for sure.
And they came, with “Dangerous Endeavor”, Bianca is ready for her fifth CD. It contains eleven songs, eight originals and three covers, namely “Lonesome Whisle” (Hank Williams), “Thorns From a Different Rose” (Will Dudley) and “White Freight Liner” (Townes).
The music is, as always with Bianca, a wonderful mix of Texan border ballads, country tunes (such as the beautiful waltz “Let’s Put The Dirty Back in Dancing”), Tex-Mex and a touch of rock.
The band is completely Austin: Hilary Adamson sings along on a song, John Inmon produces (together with Bianca) and plays a large number of instruments, Richard Bowden plays the violin. Javier Chaparro’s subtle, classically beautiful violin playing is very beautiful, we hear David Webb on the piano and Fulvio Renzi also plays the violin plus viola. The beautiful visual texts contain impressions of the road, lost and won loves, stories about outlaws.
Bianca De Leon has not lost her magic for a long time and proves that with her voice that is tarnished by life and her beautiful songs, she still belongs to the top segment of the rich Texas music world. (Independent, Lonesome Highway Music)
“Queen Of The Border Ballad” is a kind of honorary title awarded to the singer, guitarist and songwriter Bianca De Leon from Austin, Texas. In the past 40 years she has been the muse and confidant of Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt and she has so far released four albums in Europe, in addition to one released worldwide with “Love, Guns & Money” from 2011 .
On her most recent album “Dangerous Endeavor”, except for the acoustic guitar played by Bianca De Leon herself, all instruments such as guitars, bass, drums and keyboards in the eleven songs are recorded on record by co-producer John Inmon. Here and there, however, guest roles are reserved for strings (Javier Chaparro, Richard Bowden and Fulvio Renzi), for pianist David Webb with the beautiful song “Sad Corners Of Her Eyes” and for singer Hilary Clair Adamson with the rockabilly song “That Vintage ’67 Cadillac ”.
Bianca De Leon brings eight own compositions and three cover versions of famous country classics on “Dangerous Endeavor”. Those covered songs are “Thorns Of A Different Rose” by Will Dudley, “(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle” by Hank Williams and “White Freightliner” by Townes Van Zandt. From her own songs we noted the ballads “Has It Really Come To This”, “If You Just Had A Mirror” and “I’m Waiting For A Miracle”. We would still like to reserve a special mention here for the catchy country waltz “Let’s Put The Dirty Back In Dancin” that we want to include in the accompanying video in an acoustic live version.
That Bianca De Leon gets her inspiration for the songs from all sorts of experiences on the border of Texas and Mexico is clear when listening to this album and her previous albums. In her life she has lived on both sides of this currently heavily contested border region and she will undoubtedly have her own unsalted opinion about whether or not to place the wall demanded by President Trump between the two countries. After listening to the album title track “Dangerous Endeavor” we even dare to suspect which way her opinion will go about this delicate issue.
… As usual, the high quality of work prevails again. ”- www.rootstime.be
BIANCA DELEON – DANGEROUS ENDEAVOR
Door Cis van Looy op 17 augustus 2019 3.5 stars
Bianca DeLeon is ondertussen aan haar vijfde werkstuk toe, onze interesse werd gewekt met haar uit 2016 daterende voorganger Love, Guns & Money, opgebouwd met verhalen uit het grensgebied met Mexico waar de Texaanse resideert. Een thema dat meer dan ooit actueel is, niet alleen in de titelsong Dangerous Endeavor komt dat thema aan bod. Het is een schrijnend relaas vanuit het oogpunt van een wanhopige vrouw die de Mexicaanse grens oversteekt. De aanleiding van die vlucht blijft in het ongewisse. De akoestische gitaar van DeLeon wordt mooi geflankeerd door de elektrische gitaar van John Immon die zowat de volledige instrumentatie invult.
In Thorns Of A Different Rose bepaald dat elektrisch snarenwerk samen met de viool van Fulvio Renzi het tempo. Die verfijnde vioolklanken van Renzi en Javier Chaparro blijven overigens prominent aanwezig in door weemoed getekende border ballades. Naast die song van Will Dudley is er een mooi aansluitende interpretatie van Hank Williams’ (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle en het van Townes Van Zandt afkomstige White Freight Liner. Die roadsong passeert hier niet toevallig, Bianca zou tijdens haar wilde tienerjaren wel eens gesignaleerd zijn met de troubadour.
De acht overige song zijn persoonlijke verhalen die aan die onstuimigeperiode herinneren met een countrynesk Let’s Put The Dirty Back In Dancin’ en swingende rockabilly in… That Vintage ’67 Cadillac. Samen met emotioneel geladen songs zoals Has It Really Come To This, Hollow Victory en de piano ballade Sad Corners Of Her Eyes illustreren het overduidelijk, de zangers met de wat verweerde stembanden is nog lang niet uitgezongen.
Bianca DeLeon is now ready for her fifth piece. Our interest was aroused with her predecessor, Love, Guns & Money, which dates from 2016 and is built up with stories from the border area with Mexico where the Texan resides, a theme that is more topical than ever, not only in the title song Dangerous Endeavor is that theme addressed. It is a poignant account from the point of view of a desperate woman crossing the Mexican border. The reason for that flight remains uncertain. The acoustic guitar from DeLeon is nicely flanked by the electric guitar from John Immon, who completes almost the entire instrumentation.
In Thorns Of A Different Rose, electric string work together with Fulvio Renzi’s violin determines the tempo. The refined violin sounds of Renzi and Javier Chaparro, incidentally, remain prominent in border ballads drawn by nostalgia. In addition to that song by Will Dudley, there is a nice fitting interpretation of Hank Williams’s (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle and the White Freight Liner from Townes Van Zandt. It is no coincidence that this road song passes by here, Bianca may have been spotted with the troubadour during her wild teenage years.
The eight remaining songs are personal stories that remind us of that turbulent period with a country-style Let’s Put The Dirty Back In Dancin’ and swinging rockabilly in That Vintage ’67 Cadillac... Along with emotionally charged songs such as Has It Really Come To This, Hollow Victory and the piano ballad Sad Corners Of Her Eyes illustrate this clearly, the singers with the somewhat weathered vocal cords have not yet been sung.
May 2, 2019 – Bianca De Leon Dangerous Endeavor
Lonesome Highway Music
South Texas native Bianca De Leon is an Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter and author dubbed “Queen of the border ballad” by Nova Lomax and “A voice from Texas that does it right” by Guy Clark.
Outside of Texas, she’s better known in Europe where she’s been touring since 2001 while her albums have also charted very well there. She has an intriguing, sometimes sultry voice and an accomplished guitarist, utilizing both finger picking and flat picking.
Given the high news visibility of immigration and the Mexican border, it seems more than appropriate for De Leon to step into the spotlight stateside with her fifth CD. After all she’s lived on the border and witnessed far more than most. She hopped freight trains as a teenager, met the young Townes Van Zandt and lived through a decadent period in the early seventies full of car chases, drug deals and eventually the European tours.
The album is co-produced by guitarist and multi-instrumentalist John Inmon who has supported Austin artists for four decades now, most notably the late Jimmy LaFave and Eliza Gilkyson. De Leon and Inmon do almost all the heavy lifting with guests helping on select tracks. Six of the eleven have either violin or viola from Fulvio Renzi or Javier Chaparro.
She renders Van Zandt’s “White Freightliner” in a minor key at a slowed tempo in a truly unique version that will surprise most listeners. She puts her own stamp on Hank Williams Sr.’s “(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle Blow,” one that she’s lived, unlike the many others who have covered it.
Her originals are rather unforgettable too. We have the Texas waltz, done sultry style in “Let’s Put the Dirty Back in Dancing,” a dash of rockabilly with “That Vintage ’67 Cadillac,” the keening ballads – “Thorns of a Different Rose,” “Has It Really Come to This” and “I’m Waiting for a Miracle.”
Look a bit deeper and perhaps the two strongest tracks are those that embody the spirit of her nickname, “Hollow Victory” and the closing title track. On those she reveals authenticity, honesty, and expressive pain. Like her mentor Van Zandt, her rawness cuts to the bone.
Here’s an excerpt from “Hollow Victory “
“Your footsteps on the backs/Of all those in your way/And the battered wrecks /Of those you left behind.”
The title track could easily be autobiographical and is rather chillingly current:
“I left Mexico/And everything behind/And I ran while I still could/Headin’ for the border/With a change of my name/In the Texas Piney Woods/I settled in a town/With an ear to the ground/Where no one knows my name/Sometimes I wake in a cold, cold sweat/With a dream of them on my trail”
The darkness she sings about with its oblique references provided a chilling soundtrack to a late night drive in rainy, foggy conditions on the back roads in rural Pennsylvania for this writer. Expecting to encounter deer, images of coyotes and bandits were running through the mind instead. De Leon covers plenty of emotions and seemingly real life narratives on this disc. There’s passion, wit, and drama; just what you want to stay engaged with a talented songwriter.
— Jim Hynes
June 2019 VOLUME XLIIII, NUMBER 12
Lonesome Highway Music
Native Texan Bianca DeLeon writes about what she knows, her life growing up in the Texas-Mexico borderland. She’s lived through a lot, and it shows in her music.
Recorded at John Inmon’s studio and produced by Inmon, Dangerous Endeavor is a mixture of DeLeon’s original tunes and a handful of carefully picked covers.
The first thing that struck me about this album is DeLeon’s voice. She’s gritty and gutsy with her delivery of the lyrics.
A dark story, “Thorns of a Different Rose,” written by Will Dudley, sets the mood for what is to come on this album.
Reflective and relatable, “Has it Really Come to This,” a DeLeon original, is the ultimate break-up song. What stands out to me on this track is the sweet violin refrains from Javier Chaparro.
How different things would be, “If You Just Had a Mirror,” because you’d never do what you do.
A standout song for me, “Hollow Victory,” tells such a powerful story:
“It’s a hollow victory/Down the hallway to hell/One you have to walk on your own/It’s an empty hallway/Built on pain and misery…”
With a whiskey-soaked, sultry vocal, DeLeon makes me feel every word she sings.
“That vintage ’67 Cadillac” is a Rockabilly tune that lightens the mood. She brings a bit of naughtiness into play when DeLeon suggests, “Let’s Put the Dirty Back In Dancin’.”
Hank Williams Sr. made “(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle” into a hit, but DeLeon puts her own spin on it.
A song that grabbed my attention with the lyrics was “Sad Corners of Her Eyes.” DeLeon depicts situations when there is a smile, but the sad corners of the eyes give it away:
“An old photograph of Marilyn Monroe/With JFK and Jackie too/She looked so fragile/Holding his arm/Sad corners of her eyes/Gave her away…”
Something we can all relate to, “I’m Waiting for a Miracle” screams for help for our darkening planet; waiting for someone somewhere to turn the lights on. A personal friend and confidant to Townes Van Zandt, DeLeon’s version of “White Freightliner” gave me chills. It was as if she had a deep insight into the author of the lyrics, which she did.
The album concludes with “Dangerous Endeavor.” Written in Van Zandt’s storytelling style, this song could be a movie.
Everything about DeLeon’s Dangerous Endeavor from the songwriting to the vocals, and the music, is excellent! She embodies Texas storytelling in every lyric. — By Jan Sikes, Buddy Magazine
In her very personal songs, BIANCA DE LEON sings about the love, loss, personal experiences and experiences on the border between Texas and Mexico, not afraid to express her own sometimes uncomfortable opinion.
The Austin-based singer / songwriter, who sang for her latest album Dangerous Endeavor in addition to eight own compositions and three cover versions (Townes Van Zandt, Will Dudley and Hank Williams), has received a lot of encouragement – from fans, critics and colleagues including memorable Texas songwriter icon Guy Clark, who spot-lighted her talents with “A voice from Texas that does it right”.
The Texan, titled “Queen Of The Border Ballad,” does not waste much time with cumbersome preambles on her fifth long player, but comes straight to the point – her songs are real jewels, wonderfully brittle, sometimes quite dark, but always very touching and authentic.
Another Americana Country / Texas Country album by an artist who deserves to reach the widest possible audience.
Amazon Editorial Review
“White Freightliner” just came on, and I m knocked out; I got chills. So great; your voice is amazing, cuts to the bone. I wanna tell you: wow. Bob Hardy, A Deeper Blue, The Life and Music of Townes Van Zandt
This cd runs from the darkest depths to the gentle humor of “Let’s Put the Dirty Back in Dancin'”. The title song details a mystery that took place in the Mexican desert many years previous and is kept hidden in the past with oblique references.
This cd, her 5th, is a must have for Bianca fans.
Bianca De Leon – Dangerous Endeavor
Bianca De Leon serves up lyrically potent ballads with an understated, smoldering urgency, spelling these with roadhouse-friendly up- mooded fare equally appealing. The well traveled South Texan’s churning cover of her close friend the late Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freightliner” should get attention as should “Has It Really Come to This” and “Let’s Put The Dirty Back In Dancin’.” Co-producer John Inmon is impressive as nearly a one-man session band.
— Duane Verh
BIANCA DeLEON/Dangerous Endeavor: Praised by Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt’s sidekick and produced by a Lost Gonzo. Is this real Texas enough for you? Rocking harder than her folkie pals, this gal whose life seems to have inspired several Van Zandt tunes knows how to roll it out on her own in fine style. Now posited firmly as a next gen Austin mainstay, she’s a smoking hot freight train ready to knock you down if you don’t get out of the way. A real sizzler.
(Lonesome Highway 1001)
“Queen of the Border Ballad” è una definizione che calza a pennello a Bianca De Leon, cantante ed autrice con base ad Austin, Texas la cui voce rimane una delle più vere e genuine di quella scena tra country e folk. Personalità forte, amore sconfinato per i suoni ‘di confine’ che con il loro romanticismo e intensità ci hanno fatto sognare con storie passionali e accorate, Bianca ci ha regalato più di un gioellino nel corso di una carriera che l’ha vista spesso calcare i palchi europei. “Dangerous Endeavor” è un’ulteriore conferma della bontà della sua proposta, un disco co-prodotto con John Inmon, tra i più validi animatori della scena roots texana che ha contribuito a nobilitare grazie al suo lavoro chitarristico con i migliori nomi del Lone Star State degli ultimi quarantanni e più, che probabilmente è uno dei suoi lavori più intensi ed intriganti. Bianca De Leon affronta due cover di grande rilievo come “(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle” di Hank Williams Sr. e “White Freightliner” di Townes Van Zandt con piglio leggero e coinvolgente, senza voler strafare ma ponendo in primo piano rispetto e grande considerazione, ma è con gli originali che coglie maggiormente nel segno. La sua è una musica senza tempo, interpretata con semplicità ma sempre con quell’energia che la rende credibile e arrangiamenti che non fanno che sottolineare la bellezza delle melodie. E allora via con il Texas waltz di “Let’s Put The Dirty Back In Dancing”, le tonalità quasi rockabilly di “That Vintage ’67 Cadillac”, terse ballate come “Thorns Of A Different Rose”, “Has It Really Come To This “ e “I’m Waiting For A Miracle” e due splendide canzoni come la title-track “Dangerous Endeavor” in cui si conferma appieno il ‘nomignolo’ di apertura e “Hollow Victory” in cui personalmente ho ritrovato, palpabile, lo spirito del grande ed indimenticato Townes Van Zandt. Disco pieno di calore e di passione che consiglio caldamente.
– – Remo Ricaldone
“Queen of the Border Ballad” is a definition that fits perfectly with Bianca De Leon, singer and author based in Austin, Texas whose voice remains one of the most true and genuine of that scene between country and folk. Strong personality, boundless love for the ‘borderline’ sounds that with their romanticism and intensity made us dream with heartfelt and passionate stories, Bianca gave us more than a jewel during a career that has often seen her treading European stages. “Dangerous Endeavor” is a further confirmation of the goodness of its proposal, a disc co-produced with John Inmon, one of the most valid animators of the Texas roots scene who contributed to ennoble thanks to his guitar work with the best names of the Lone Star Been in the last forty years and more, which is probably one of his most intense and intriguing works. Bianca De Leon faces two major coverings such as “(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle” by Hank Williams Sr. and “White Freightliner” by Townes Van Zandt with a light and engaging look, without wanting to overdo it but putting great respect consideration, but it is with the originals that it captures the most. His is a timeless music, interpreted with simplicity but always with that energy that makes it credible and arrangements that only emphasize the beauty of the melodies. So off with the Texas waltz of “Let’s Put The Dirty Back In Dancing”, the almost rockabilly tones of “That Vintage ’67 Cadillac”, terse ballads like “Thorns Of A Different Rose”, “Has It Really Come To This” and “I’m Waiting For A Miracle” and two wonderful songs like the title-track “Dangerous Endeavor” which fully confirms the ‘nickname’ of opening and “Hollow Victory” in which I personally found, palpable, the spirit of the great and unforgettable Townes Van Zandt. Disco full of warmth and passion that I highly recommend.
– – Remo Ricaldone (google translate)
Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freightliner Blues” in a minor key makes perfect sense when performed by Bianca DeLeon, once Townes’ close confidant, now carrying on his tradition of mixing the darkness and the light in her songs of love and loss, innocence and experience, with the emphasis now firmly on experience. A world-weary cover of Hank Williams’ “I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow” marks the other boundary of Bianca’s territory, conveying strength and resolution along with the resignation of hard-fought experience. In between, her latest songs continue to weave the threads of the stories her followers have come to love. This is solid songwriting and a voice that gets better with age–and experience.