She hails from San Antonio, but singer-songwriter Lisa Morales has strong ties to Austin as well. “Luna Negra and the Daughter of the Sun,” the follow-up to her acclaimed 2011 debut “Beautiful Mistake,” features many high-profile Austin musicians. The album was produced by keyboardist Michael Ramos (known for his work with Patty Griffin, the BoDeans and others), and guest guitarists include local luminaries Charlie Sexton, Adrian Quesada and David Garza.
Perhaps most poignant, though, is the presence of the late Jimmy LaFave on the song “Avalanche.” Recorded before LaFave’s death in May from cancer, it marked one of the beloved Austin singer-songwriter’s last studio appearances. The song, a bittersweet piano-based ballad lightly accented with horns, features LaFave’s harmonies weaving in and out of Morales’ primary vocal, and he steps out for a brief lead on the final chorus:
A video for the song is due to be released soon as well. Austin audiences have two chances to catch Morales in the next couple of months. She opens for Grammy-winning Mexican singer-songwriter Lila Downs at the Paramount Theatre on Oct. 4, and she’ll open two nights for Texas rock/pop band Los Lonely Boys at Antone’s Nov. 16-17.
LaFave was honored last week at Shady Grove restaurant for this year’s finale of KGSR’s long-running “Unplugged at the Grove” series. The first artist ever to play the “Unplugged” show back in the early 1990s, LaFave had been scheduled to close out the 2017 series. In his memory, the restaurant played his music over the P.A. and unveiled a new sign dedicating its outdoor patio stage in his name. Morales also played this year’s series, just a few days before LaFave’s passing.