At age 64, Rosie Flores is still twanging her rockabilly guitar. She was born in San Antonio, Texas, but at age 12 moved with her family to San Diego, California. There, her brother taught her to play guitar and she formed her first band while in high school. In the 1970s, Flores played the local nightclub circuit in the alt country band Rosie and the Screamers, then joined an all-female "cow-punk" band called Screamin' Sirens in the 1980s. Flores went solo in 1987. Since then, her guitar playing has garnered feature stories in Guitar World, Premiere Guitar and Guitar Player magazines. She was also the first female Latina country artist to ever enter the Billboard country charts. She currently resides in Austin, Texas, where the Austin City Council declared Rosie Flores Day on August 31, 2006, and where she was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 2007. Flores' 13th and most recent album is 2012's Working Girl's Guitar.
At Hill Country Barbecue + Market tonight, Flores looked like a rockabilly queen, with her black cowboy boots and red sequined-and-fringed cowgirl vest, but her music was more than that. Her set included traditional country, honky tonk, western swing and even surf music. Adventurous? Well, she performed a countrified version of the Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant." The neo-traditional vocalist sang heartily with an authentic although somewhat ordinary country lilt, yet on the guitar she unequivocally wailed. She alternated leads with her backup guitarist, frequently ripping boldly into sturdy solos and unapologetically bringing on the noise like a riot grrl. After the fiery licks, she always circled her songs back to their Americana roots. Flores rocked the house, locked within the essence of her down-home, old-time Texas twang.
Visit Rosie Flores at www.rosieflores.com.