Lysa Flores | You Took It Too Far

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You Took It Too Far

by Lysa Flores

This Chicana Rocks! - Los Angeles Times
Genre: Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Release Date: 

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1. You Took It Too Far
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The Resurrection and Ascension of Lysa Flores
by Abel Salas

It’s a mild Saturday night in January. Lysa Flores has accepted an invitation to play at an event commemorating the release of a high profile Latino literary magazine being held in the private home of a respected Chicana historian turned documentary filmmaker and her husband, a well-known, award-winning novelist and former LA Times staff writer. Dressed in black and armed with a fire engine red Fender Telecaster, Flores is joined by drummer Fredo Ortiz and break-out prodigy Giovanni Verduzco on bass.



What was supposed to be a half-hour set is extended by barrage of audience requests for encore after encore. Flores is happy to comply. Her voice, long lauded as a uniquely powerful extension of her poignant and riveting work as a songwriter, is compelling. Honest and honed, it resonates with a razor sharp readiness. The living room crowd is understandably weighted in favor of writers, journalists and academics. They engage in private conversations, gather around the taquero parked on a wooden deck outside and mingle.

But from the moment Flores first brandishes her guitar lets go with an almost defiant riff, they are transfixed. Lysa Flores is back. It’s as if she never made the decision to withdraw from music seven years ago to take stock of her life and put herself back together. After defending her rights as a songwriter and an artist in a contentious divorce then literally defending herself during a subsequent relationship with an abusive boyfriend that ended with a miscarriage, Flores explains, she made the conscious decision to step away from a career that had, until then, been marked mostly by critical praise, performances with legendary artists across the spectrum of styles and genres, and successful tours across two continents.

“I think it has to do, number one, with getting to where I was questioning my own identity and self-worth and everything that happens when you become a victim of violence and loss,” Flores says over coffee in a tranquil, terraced patio tucked away discreetly in El Sereno. The return to her work as both bard and troubadour after her self-imposed exile was paralleled by the birth of her now three-year-old daughter Viviana. The former Elvette, who once toured as part of the El Vez (Robert Lopez AKA the Mexican Elvis) & the Memphis Mariachis Vegas-style, tongue in cheek send up, glows with the unbridled joy gleaned from a mature and contemplative motherhood.

“So I think I got to the point where I feel comfortable speaking about it now, and I think that it’s part of my experience as an artist to be able to speak to it and be able to own it as part of my experience,” Flores confides, alluding to the disastrous and painful romantic entanglement with a well-known musician that followed the sudden, and for her, unforeseen dissolution of her marriage. A day job with a high profile fashion retailer and the fulfillment that has come with her role as a mother has allowed her the space and distance she needed, she says, to reflect and heal. And based on the furious pace of notable recording projects suddenly piling up around her—two albums of her own, two she producing for others and a fifth as a vocalist—her time away from the industry just might have been just the calm before storm, a lyrical and musical whirlwind that will mark a segue to the next step in an illustrious, watershed creative period.

With respect her withdrawal, Flores is circumspect, never referring to anyone in her personal life by name. But she is still frank with details and slew of harrowing recollections as well as a number of those events played out legally.
“That was all part of my transition from music and having to take a break and now putting out a CD,” Flores says. Only a few weeks after the intimate and surprisingly powerful in the Mt. Washington hilltop home, she wears a bright red overcoat and sits confidently with a calm, even regal bearing. The album she debuts this month, It Hurts to be Your Girl, was recorded six years ago and is the symbolic string of yarn that leads her back to herself. The record is, she reveals, “very personal and graphic. I do talk about losing my son [who] I was only five months pregnant [with] at the time.” The revelatory, cathartic and ultimately redemptive and healing nature of the project, highlighted by a song titled “You Took it Too Far,” is Lysa Flores at her stripped-down and visceral best. The track features her playing single string notes through the entire song. She is joined by one drummer and one bass player on each of its tracks.

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Patrick O'Heffernan

She rocks!
As a music critic I hear literally thousands of artists every year and only a few stand out. Lysa is one of them, not only for her music, but for her words. She rocks in several ways!
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