In 2009, after the mother of Lisa and Roberta Morales died from cancer, the glue that held the sisters together began to erode.
Known as the Sisters Morales on the folk music circuit, the Tucson-born, San Antonio-based Lisa and Roberta began to work on solo projects and to develop individual artistic identities. But over time, as they explored their individual sides, the Sisters Morales never lost their connection, sibling and musical.
Now after a six-year absence since their last Tucson performance, the Southwest accented Sisters Morales return for a performance Saturday, April 23, at Hotel Congress’ outdoor plaza. Local singer-songwriter John Coinman will open. The Tucson performance will feature Los Lobos drummer, Cougar Estrada.
“We needed to get back to square one to find out who we are,” said Lisa, in a telephone interview with Roberta in Lisa’s San Antonio home kitchen.
Roberta said they are moving forward. “I wanted to have fireworks,” she added.
Coming home can be good, especially with family and friends waiting for a rare performance of their Americana-alt sound filled with blues, rock country and ranchera.
“It’s great being with the family,” said Roberta, a graduate of Catalina High School, along with her sister.
Their 2002 release, “Para Gloria,” was an homage to their mother and some of the classic Mexican rancheras and boleros from the Golden Era of Mexican music.
In the time that the two worked on their individual sides, Roberta spent some time in Tucson honing her songs while Lisa produced albums for other musical artists.
“It was part of the evolution,” Lisa said. The separation was also part of their grieving process, she added.
But now that they are refocusing their creativity and energy on their duo side, the sweetly harmonizing Sisters Morales are working on a new album with Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, who produced their 2008 “Talking to the River.” The new recording will largely contain original material, some in Spanish and one track in Portuguese, a la bossa nova.
Over the years, the Sisters Morales have performed with Los Lobos, George Clinton, Santana, George Strait, Sly Stone, the late Merle Haggard, Alison Krauss, Little Joe y La Familia, and Trace Adkins. This summer the Sisters Morales hit the road with Los Lonely Boys.