MEMBERS & INSTRUMENTS:
Mobetta Loretta a.k.a. Loretta Chacon (vocals, acoustic guitar); Guy James (electric guitar); Raul Salazar (drums); kLutz a.k.a. Kenn Lutz (bass); Professor Steve (harmonica). [Other musicians on album: Geno (keyboards), Sal & Isela (backing vocals); David Robinson (slide, acoustic guitar); Mia Mercado a.k.a. Bluebird (backing vocals)].
Salt of the Earth (2009, Mobetta Loretta Productions).
She’s been compared to Emmylou Harris and Jewel. And that’s not too far off from what we’re hearing, either.
Loretta Chacon—better known in area music circles as Mobetta Loretta—has performed her folky/bluesy acoustic material in recent years to much success. Yet, interestingly enough, one of Loretta’s recent noteworthy endeavors isn’t exactly in music.
Instead, she’s assembling a documentary about the stories of those who influenced her latest album, Salt of the Earth. The film features her great aunt, Virginia Chacon, who Loretta describes as a “pre-feminist thinker” along other miners’ wives to get the female perspective about the strike against the Zinc Mine Company in Silver City, New Mexico, which was featured in the 1954 movie, Salt of the Earth.
“She was instrumental in obtaining civil rights for the miners,” Loretta says, adding that the album was also penned about her great uncle, Juan Chacon, the union leader. “I wanted to find out her story about what it was like to be a woman and live through adversity. She was an ‘overcomer.’”
And in some ways Loretta—initially raised in New Mexico by a single parent—can be viewed as an “overcomer.” Her mother, too, overcame odds, advancing from a GED to a UCLA J.D. “My mother was my inspiration and my primary role-model. She showed me that I could achieve anything that my heart desired.”
Loretta’s heart has a definite desire for songs. And it’s both “[a] blessing and fate” that she’s in Redlands, after growing up in the barrios of L.A., where she was a “thick-skinned, city girl,” yet always retaining her down-home, earthiness inside.
“I also have met and collaborated with so many talented musicians living here that the inspiration is never-ending,” she says.
A staunch advocate of the local scene, Loretta has teamed up with various area notables (see her band members list) and finds playing the IE more satisfying than L.A. “Folks around the Inland Empire are truer to their artistic selves and not so worried about impressing anyone,” Loretta says. “My band plays music because it is what makes us happy. We’re not trying to get rich or trying to get signed. We just want to play music.”
Mobetta Loretta w/The Sibley’s and Killer Sheep at The Palms, 83131 Amboy Rd., Wonder Valley, (760) 361-2810; www.myspace.com/thepalmsvw. Thurs, Dec. 31, 8PM. Free.