Released on Oct. 18, Luz De Vida is a bi-format compilation from Fort Lowell Records of consisting of artists supporting the Tucson community through their craft in both a 37 track digital release and a 12 track vinyl pressing.
Aside from the immense size of the digital release and the fantastic quality of the vinyl album, Luz De Vida’s nature is musical altruism in its highest form. It was fully backed by local donations, international artists writing specific tracks, and has 100 percent of its proceeds going to the Tucson Together Fund – the prime-sanctioned fund for victims and families of the Jan. 8 tragedy, in a shooting which killed six and injured 13 including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and rocked the community and the nation.
The prospect of releasing two variations of Luz De Vida is an ambitious one, and the result is nothing short of gorgeous: The yellow vinyl version consists solely of Tucson’s own local efforts, including bands like Dead Western Plains which feature UA students, whereas the digital release features household names like Arizona’s Jimmy Eat World, Neko Case, and Spoon, along with the vinyl album’s tracks and a plethora of musical supporters.
The dynamic that encompasses the compilations is exceptionally remarkable, given the scope of emotions across the releases.
Calexico’s “Absent Afternoon” stands as the most pensive track on the vinyl version, and remains a testament to the classic, sweeping soundscapes that have trademarked their career.
In stark contrast to Calexico’s ballad, the uplifting and raucous “Father’s Father” from Holy Rolling Empire is a headbobbing cut that emphasizes on the need to turn to our elders for support in times of need.
Kiss and The Tells are true showstoppers, playing Fifties’ styled barbershop backup singers off of a lead vocal line that recalls an amped-up Billie Holiday.
Regardless of musical taste, there is something on just the vinyl compilation alone that appeals to all listeners, much less the massive digital release. Both versions captivate throughout with the call for a change in the collective nature of Luz De Vida’s listeners.
This compilation is far from just an outline of the immense amount of talent that Tucson holds, although this characteristic of the city is something that few people outside of the community understand but do need to take note of. Luz De Vida utilized more than just a common thread to create a grandiose picture of what Tucson stands for and has to offer in musical facets; insider, there is a definite sense of communal unity that stands strong, from the local financial backing to the finished product of both albums.
Luz De Vida is a testament to the resilience and singularity that Tucson has been proven to possess.