I’ll probably get shot for saying this, but, hey, someone’s gotta say it: It’s time for Tejano musicians to stay away from cumbia and understand the simple fact that conjunto is where it’s at. Why waste time doing lame cumbias and crappy, crowd-pleasing, cheesy keyboard-based pop laced with Jurassic horns, when you could be producing albums like this? Grammy- and Grammy Latino winner (and accordion virtuoso) Sauceda, a former member of Vida, has his share of overtly commercial endeavors (even on this album, which includes a handful of disposable cumbia tracks that would make a Colombian puke), but at least he also has two gems in his pocket: The glorious Polkas, Gritos y Acordeones (a collaboration with David Lee Garza and Joel Guzmán) and this collection of songs mostly written by his dad, Mario (aka Mariano) Alberto Sauceda. Despite a needless introduction and the fact that no songwriting credits are listed in the liner notes (Sunny!), this is the best album of Sauceda’s career. I’ll even forgive him for the wrongly titled “My querido viejo” (“My dear old man,” a song by Piero that’s actually titled “Mi viejo”), because the cover works. Sauceda’s voice sounds more confident than ever. It’s easy to say that records like these are a labor of love, so I’ll say it: This ain’t Sgt. Pepper, but it is an album son and dad should be proud of, and a strong Grammy contender for a genre in desperate need of any kind of strength. –Enrique Lopetegui
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