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— After more than two decades as bassist for polka-rock band Brave Combo, Cenobio “Bubba” Hernandez left in 2007 to pursue other projects, including a solo career. This occasionally brings him to central Arkansas for a show, and he’s back this weekend to unveil his Big Pounding Heart.

His latest solo CD, Heart, sees Hernandez playing, in addition to his main instrument, accordion, organ, bajo sexto, guira, cymbals, cowbell and drum loops. And that’s just on the first cut, “Si Se Puede.”

Later, he tackles Fender Rhodes piano, double bass, Hammond C3 organ, guitar, tuba and nylon-string guitar. On “Baby Please Come Home,” he combines “traditional” instrumentation with a washing machine and a fan with spoons. An exercise ball is featured on “Happy Holiday” while the washingmachine - supplemented by wine bottles with spoons - returns on “Tu Me Das Vida.”

“I had a producer, Scrote, sort of a grunge guy from San Francisco,” Hernandez explains, “and he said he wanted to ‘bring a laptop along and capture the freshest Bubba possible’ and I told him I wanted to sound less conventional. So he was chasing me around the house with some low-end microphones, having me bang on or strum on whatever I could find, from kitchen cabinets to keys and my fists pounding on the washing machine.

“I’m bringing my band, a drummer, guitarist and sax player, and I play bass. I had sat in with Amy Garland at one of her shows, and about 17 women jumped out on thedance floor when I sang. Matt White of the White Water Tavern was there and he said ‘I gotta get you up here,’ so we booked a show back some time ago.”

Hernandez, who joined Brave Combo in 1985, was along for the ride when the Denton, Texas, band won a couple of Grammy Awards and appeared as animated cartoon characters on The Simpsons.

“And we played at the wedding of David Byrne, the leader of The Talking Heads,” Hernandez adds.

“But I’m still doing music with a world beat. This newCD has songs based on blues, samba, cumbia, ska and one that focuses on Okinawan tonality. It’s an extension of what I’ve done before.”

Hernandez’s previous solo CD projects have included the Grammy Award-nominated Polka Freak Out; Dancing En Fuego; and a children’s CD, Miss Polly’s All Day Fun (which Hernandez also produced). He’s scheduled to play bass for Texas singersongwriter Sara Hickman when she headlines a show June 9 during the Kerrville Folk Festival.

Little Rock native Joe Cripps, one of Hernandez’s former Brave Combo cohorts, is planning to make the trip to sit in on Hernandez’s CD release party, both musicians report.

Hernandez still is based in Denton, where Brave Combo formed back in the days of record albums. (Denton’s probably best-known as a college town, and the University of North Texas - which back then was known as North Texas State University - is best known for its music program, where Hernandez and five of the band’s original members studied.) He has also played with north Texas bands Wee-Beasties and Los Super Vatos, and is a member of a tribute band, A Taste of Herb, honoring the songs of Herb Alpert.

Bubba Hernandez

9 p.m. Saturday, White

Water Tavern, West Sev

enth and Thayer streets,

Little Rock


(501) 375-8400

Weekend, Pages 35 on 05/31/2012

Print Headline: Hernandez to bare big Heart


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