Flaco Jiménez Reflects on a Legendary Career: “The Heart is Still the Same”

Texas born-and-bred musician Flaco Jiménez has been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association, alongside icons like Loretta Lynn, Jackson Browne and Taj Mahal. 

Jiménez will be presented with the award in Nashville this September, a testament to his decades-long career that’s seen him work alongside the likes of Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and many others.

He’s currently touring with his Texas Tornados, the renowned supergroup that once included the late Tex-Mex greats Freddy Fender and Doug Sahm. 

Lorne Matalon climbed aboard the tour bus to talk with Jiménez before he and the latest rendition of the Tornados took the stage at the historic USO building in Marfa, as part of the Viva Big Bend music festival.

Jiménez reflected his career at the age of 75. 

“It’s been a long road, of course,” he says, but insists it’s been worth every minute.

Jiménez says he’s enjoyed being able to play music with such a diverse roster of musicians over the years – rock ‘n’ rollers, Tex Mex artists, his tenure with the legendary Tornados and beyond. 

Flaco Jiménez is known for bringing the sounds of the accordion to a global audience, and into mainstream pop consciousness. 

He says from his earliest days recording with the Sir Douglas Quintet in the 1960s, the fun was always in blending the instrument with new and evolving forms of music.

 

Jiménez sounds young and eager at 75, saying he keeps up the touring simply for the love of it.

“The heart is there, the feeling is there,” he says, “I just shut my eyes and have that feel of the audience watching me play – the heart is still the same.”

– Lorne Matalon and Travis Bubenik

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