By Chito de la Torre
"This is total satisfaction," says Shelly Lares about her latest CD titled
simply enough, "Shelly." And she's got a point. "Shelly" satiates every
yearning a tejano could ever have, plus some we didn't even know we had.
From country to cumbia, from tejano to pop ballad, Shelly's latest effort
covers all the sounds you love to hear.
"It's made especially for Tejanos," explains Shelly. "Tejanos have
everything on their radio dial. So this is like a radio CD because it changes
Right from the top, "Shelly" is curiously gratifying. "Siempre Lo Esperare,"
is the first cut and the first single to be released from the new CD. While
her voice is unmistakable, the song, a mixture of pop, tejano and cumbia, is
hard to categorize. It fits well in just about any radio format. That's why
"Siempre Lo Esperare," written by Shelly herself along with J.J. Reyes, is
Just like in "Siempre," there are plenty of other very cool combinations
going on in this CD. There's the soul-wrenching duet that Shelly does with
Jay Perez, "All I'll Ever Need," and the bilingual country ballad, "You're All
That I'm Living For." By the way, both those tunes were written by Shelly.
In fact, Shelly co-wrote seven of the eleven tunes on "Shelly."
And here's something you should really pay attention to. If you listen real
carefully on "Siempre Lo Esperare," you'll find something oddly familiar about
the background vocals. Laying low and singing in Spanish is Vince Gill.
Gill was apparently so taken with Shelly when he met her in Nashville that he
decided he wanted to help her out. Not only did he do background vocals on
"Siempre", he also worked the doo-ops on "You're All That I'm Living For,"
"Blue Bayou," and "Blame It on Love," a make you-want-to-holler-sing-along
country tune written by Vince Gill and Delbert McClinton.
With so much country going on you'd think that maybe Shelly is trying to
break into a new market. But she's doing something way cooler than that.
Shelly is creating a new market. She's uniting tejano and country and coming
up with something she's been calling Tejano/Country.
The song she hopes will bridge the gap is one she wrote herself, "Mr. Right."
"We're hoping to push it in the country market," says Shelly. That way she
says "people can put Tejano to the music." Shelly explains that "everybody's
heard of tejano but not everybody has heard tejano. Now they can see how
compatible tejano is to country."
"Mr. Right" starts out as a straight ahead country tune with swing guitar and
fiddle, but a measure after Shelly starts singing about what she needs from
her man, the accordion sneaks in. A little later, the song just about stops
and it's hard core accordion squeezing that kicks in with Shelly saying, "Did
I forget to mention... Mr. Right also has to dance Tejano!" And someone
throws a grito.
But her music isn't the only thing that's changed. Shelly is recording on a
new label, and she's trying on new hats.
You might remember reading that Shelly had left Manny Music and signed on
with Sony Discos. Shelly's father and manager, Fred Lares, had expressed some
dissatisfaction with Manny Music in the past. The record label jump would
have happened even if Manny Music had not decided to close it's Tejano branch
to focus on more religious ventures.
The new association with Sony Discos seems to be a much better deal for
Shelly. By the looks of the promotional material and the effort spent on
getting Shelly played, it's apparent Sony Discos does not want to see Shelly
unhappy. They've even given her what every artist wants most, creative
Shelly produced the entire CD, not just the Tejano part recorded in San
Antonio, but also the Country stuff recorded in Nashville. For Shelly it only
seems natural. "Who knows better what to expect from me?," she asks.
So where to next? "We're taking an enormous step," she begins. "The next
step is producing more and getting more serious about the writing. I'm going
to expand my group, adding a guitarist for country, next bringing in
percussions, and three brasses. I want to make my productions better ever
--30-- (printed with permission)