Texan Stephanie Urbina Jones, born in San Antonio and raised mostly in Fredericksburg, began melding those influences when she started singing “country jazz” at Austin’s Elephant Room, where she’d taken a booking job after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin. Eventually, she segued into Latin-rooted Americana, also described as “Texicana country folk-rock” or, in her late grandmother’s words, “country music with chili peppers.”
Even though her sure, sinuous voice was made to sing these songs in these arrangements, the plan to do so didn’t form until spring of 2016, when Stephanie Urbina Jones performed a gig in New Mexico with guitarist Patterson Barrett. Deciding she wanted to spice up her set, she asked Facebook friends for a percussionist connection and was put in touch with Sound Production of Tularosa, a local recording studio. The owner promised to hook her up with someone, but only if she’d visit his studio after her show. Reluctantly, she agreed, then contacted the player. He asked if he could bring his dad, an old-school mariachi. She was thrilled.