Former resident shares Mexican-American music with friend, notable singer
Fredericksburg High School graduate and Honky Tonk Mariachi singer Stephanie Urbina Jones is continuing her passion of sharing Latina heritage through music with one of her best friends and a popular folksinger.
“It’s been so much fun working with these two,” Jones said. “We just come together like friends putting a party together.”
Jones, her friend, Patricia Vonne and renowned folksinger Tish Hinojosa formed a band called the Texicana Mamas after a successful performance in Nashville. Their debut bilingual album — which can be heard on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and more — speaks to diversity and inclusion through music.
“Tish is very easy to create with and write with, and the same with Patricia,” Jones said. “Each of our genres kind of just meld together.”
The three singers are all originally from the San Antonio area. Jones was born in San Antonio and grew up in Fredericksburg, where she continues to play 15-20 concerts each Christmas for veterans and children in hospitals, as well as the elderly in nursing homes.
Vonne, who knew Jones from college, met up with her in the fall of 2018, before a performance at Nashville’s Bluebird Café.
“I called the café and asked if they would like to do a Latina Night for Hispanic Heritage Month and they said yeah,” Jones said. “They needed one more latina and Vonne was like, ‘Hey, Tish Hinojosa is my friend, let me call her.’”
Hinojosa said yes and they reheased at her house ahead of the performance.
The Bluebird Café, Jones said, is usually known for being relatively quiet, but on that night, the crowd lit up.
“Our music, the Texas-Latina roots, were so fun that people were literally dancing on the pews,” she said. “At that moment, we knew we had something.”
After the successful gig, they played together at several big venues, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
“It was destiny,” Jones said. “I remember that first night singing together, we hit those harmonies really easy. We love each other.”
A year after their first gig, the Texicana Mamas were invited back to Nashville to record an album in front of a live studio audience. The album was later featured in an hour-long special on National Public Radio.
“We’ve been receiving amazing reviews and we’re just really excited,” she said.
Jones, who has been involved with the Texas Heritage Music Foundation for some time, worked with them to coordinate a special documentary program of their careers.
This program will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by telling the stories behind the Texicana Mamas’ music. It can be seen at 7 p.m. tonight at www.facebook.com/thetexicanamamas and at www.facebook.com/TexasHeritageMusicFoundation.
As part of the program, the group will host THMF founder Kathleen Hudson, who will speak about her new book, “Corazón Abierto: Mexican American Voices in Texas Music.” The Schreiner University professor’s book will be released Nov. 15.
While this is an opportunity for the Texicana Mamas, they don’t plan to stop there.
“We hope to take our Texicana music to all the greatest festivals and to musical listening rooms and venues around the world,” Jones said. “Most of us have all played amazing venues and festivals, but we now want to take our comined voice, our stories and our songs to those festivals.”
After the program, they’re planning a virtual event for the Kerrville Folk Festival this fall. The date is yet to be announced.