- Associated Press - Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bianca De Leon, “Love, Guns & Money” (Lonesome Highway)

With recorded music, perfect is the enemy of good. Bianca De Leon doesn’t strive for perfect on “Love, Guns & Money,” which is why it’s good.

The 10 cuts were recorded in eight hours, and while the results are flawed - especially some less than pitch-perfect vocals - there’s loose, energetic interplay that only comes from everyone performing at the same time.

It helps that De Leon assembled a terrific band led by keyboardist Radoslav Lorkovic and guitarist John Inmon. She gives them plenty of chances to shine, and they do.

De Leon wrote most of the material, and her Tex-Mex border songs focus on relations foreign and domestic. She recalls the fall of Manuel Noriega on “I Sang Patsy Cline,” rails against hypocrisy on “Guns & Money” and reflects on love lost and found on “The Bottle’s on the Table.” She closes with two well-chosen covers, Townes Van Zandt’s “Nothin’” and Hank Williams’ “Ramblin’ Man,” the latter noteworthy for her blue yodel.

De Leon’s approach to the album is advertised at the top of the cover: “Recorded live in the studio in Austin, Texas.” She’s clearly proud of the results, and should be.

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