Cris Plata was born in South Texas, the son of migrant workers. Those early days of living in different migrant camps and following the harvest from region to region, exposed Cris to a wide range of musical experiences.
His early musical experiences reflect his Mexican heritage. This heritage includes Norteno (Northern Mexico border music), conjunto (elements of both European and Mexican music fused by early residents of South Texas), and ranchera (Mexican country) music. Today, Cris describes this as "Mexican root's" music.
Another strong influence stamped its mark on this man at an early age. This can be best described as the Texas singer-songwriter genre. Texas has long been the hot bed of musical talent that has been forged by its wide open vistas and its independent nature. Out of this landscape, Texas has "grown" notable and innovative singer-songwriters such as: Bob Wills (Texas swing), Townes Van Zandt and Lyle Lovett (masters of melodic story songs with a uniquely Texas soul), and Steve Earle (his "Guitar Town" is the epitome of gritty country-rock, a standard that Nashville writers have yet to reach).
With all of these influences, how do we describe Cris Plata's music in a nutshell? Perhaps we will have to borrow the term Tex-Mex and redefine it. "Tex" would now stand for Texas singer-songwriters and "Mex" would stand for Mexican root's music. But don't let this definition confine your impression of his music. Just listen to his music and the best definition will be your own.
30 Minute Music Hour
From Fields to Stage
Click the link below to take you to the Wisconsin Historical Society Press site to buy a copy of "Cris Plata: From Fields to Stage/Del Campo al Escenario."