It doesn’t get much more
romantic than this. The lovely voice of Carmen Cuesta, singing ballads
in Spanish with her husband, Chuck Loeb, playing guitar. Those are the
elements of Toda Una Vida (Tweety Records, 2014).
Loeb also plays keyboards. The other musicians are Jose San Martin,
drums and shaker; Antonio “Tono” Miguel, acoustic bass; Moises P.
Sanchez, piano and electric piano; Yuvisney Aguilar, percussion; Antonio
Serrano, harmonica on “Contiga Aprendi”; Kike Perdomo, flute on “Quizas,
Quizas, Quizas”; and Oli Rockberger, piano on “Todo Una Vida.”
The set begins with “Voy a Apagar La Luz” or “I’ll turn off the light.”
Cuesta sings softly with the musicians playing elegantly behind her.
Loeb adds an acoustic guitar solo. Sanchez opens “Eu Sei Que Voe Te Amar”
in true, mood-setting fashion, setting up for Cuesta’s voice. The other
musicians are subtle underneath as this easily could have been a
piano/vocal duet. Cuesta and Sanchez complement each other well.
“Besame Mucho,” written in 1940 by Consuelo Velazquez, is the most sung
and recorded Mexican song in the world. If you know the translation,
it’s easy to see why. Besame Mucho is kiss me a lot. While often played
at a faster pace, Cuesta takes the slow approach. One can almost imagine
Loeb’s guitar responding to the singer’s request.
Adding to the romantic atmosphere of this project is the album art.
Photographs are by Loeb and Cuesta. The front cover, with filtered
lighting and colors, shows a woman – possibly Cuesta – walking down a
driveway, flanked by a dog, with an ivy-covered brick gateway in the
foreground and trees on either side of the road. An interior photo shows
the same view, in full color, minus the woman and the animal. And the
gatefold images are close-ups of flowers. A note accompanying that image
reads: “Because there is nothing that unites us more than a song that
stays in our ear, or music that evokes memories … sometimes with sadness
and sometimes with joy, the best moments of our lives.”
Loeb arranged all the songs Todo Una Vida. Apart from Loeb and
Sanchez, there isn’t much to listen for in the way of instrumental
solos. It’s all about the album’s overall concept of life and love, the
arrangements of the music and Cuesta’s soothing, charming voice.