I’ve been in a wistful, nostalgic, slightly melancholic place these past weeks. I think it’s best expressed in song.

I’ve been listening to the same handful of Freddy Fender songs over and over for the past few days. Though I’m not a country or tex-mex fan, his voice and music evoke a feeling from my childhood, memories I can’t quite make out. My mind goes back to family parties in St. Helena, the grownups laughing and dancing. Right now I’m particularly enjoying his version of Volver, Volver with Flaco Jimenez:

The first time I heard of Mariachi El Bronx was when they were listed as the opening act for Primus’ LA shows at Club Nokia last October. A punk band playing mariachi music? Unsure of what to expect, I braced myself for the worst – a bunch of guys making fun of a musical form that is a part of my soul. They stepped out on stage and started playing – I was immediately a fan. This is Revolution Girls from their latest album, Mariachi El Bronx (II):

I woke up one morning with thoughts of Syndea and this song filling my head. Drown is one of my favorite Smashing Pumpkins songs, but Today was the song that Syndea always said reminded her of her time with us in Napa. Somehow, my mind has chosen Drown as my song for her, and this is a great live version:

Someone tweeted a link to a cover of this last song. It was a beautiful version, but the original is one of those songs that got me through the most difficult bits of my childhood. This song called to a heartache that was bigger than I had words for at the time. Though I was too young to comprehend the lyrics, I knew the meaning down in my bones. Simply Red’s Holding Back the Years: