Linda Ronstadt Takes Readers On a Sumptuous Journey Through the Sonoran Borderlands in New Memoir

The Grammy award-winning singer celebrates her Mexican-American heritage and the marvelous flavors and indomitable people on both sides of the border in this road trip through the high desert.

BERKELEY, CALIF. — Rock & Roll Hall-of-Famer Linda Ronstadt takes readers on a joyfully narrated, photographic road trip through the Sonoran Desert in celebration of her Mexican American heritage and her love for the region in a new memoir, Feels Like Home: A Song for the Sonoran Borderlands (on sale October 4), published by Heyday.

Written with her friend and former New York Times writer Lawrence Downes, and illustrated with vibrant photos by Bill Steen (a Tucson native and longtime friend of the Ronstadt family), Feels Like Home shines a warm light on the particular stretch of southern Arizona and northern Mexico, a starkly beautiful land, rich in history, that Linda’s family has called home for more than 200 years.

The granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and descendant of Spanish settlers, Linda Ronstadt was born in Tucson and grew up singing the Mexican canciones her father Gilbert taught her. Many years later, in honor of those songs, she released her 1987 album Canciones de mi Padre, which sold more than 2.5 million copies and became the biggest selling foreign language album in the US at that time. Her new book highlights 34 Sonoran songs that are dear to Linda (some of which will feature in a companion album Feels Like Home: Songs from the Sonoran Borderlands and Beyond—Linda Ronstadt’s Musical Odyssey forthcoming from Putumayo World Music).

Feels Like Home also offers 20 recipes for traditional Sonoran and southern Arizonan dishes and other recipes that have been served at Ronstadt family gatherings for decades (including Jackie Ronstadt’s Tunapeños, caldo de queso, Albondigas de la Familia Ronstadt, and cheese crisps). Even her longest and most devoted fans will discover a bevy of revelations and surprises, such as intimate stories from her childhood, family letters, and candid snapshots. With 75 full-color and black and white photos of Linda as a young girl, of her ancestors and relatives, of the foods she adores and of the beautiful landscape that means so much to her, this book is a lavish, visual dive into Linda’s lifelong loves: the sights, songs, and savory cuisine of the Sonoran Desert region.

Feels Like Home is a heartfelt portrayal of Linda’s affection for the people, culture, history, and breathtaking natural beauty of the place where her soul is anchored and that had the greatest influence on her music, and will be published in time for Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15, 2022).

Media Contact:
Megan Beatie, Publicist, President & CEO of Megan Beatie Communications

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Feels Like Home invites us on an exquisite journey of beauty, adventure and history. It’s a magical trip you don’t want to miss. This book will fill your heart, your soul and your spirit. We need that now more than ever.”

DOLORES HUERTA, labor organizer and civil-rights activist

Contains 75 full color and black-and-white photographs, including never before seen photos of Linda Ronstadt and her family as well as stunning landscapes of the Sonoran Borderlands by Bill Steen.

Includes notes on Linda's musical inspiration, particularly for her Spanish language album, Canciones de mi Padre—an ode to traditional Mexican Mariachi music that still stands as one of the best-selling Latin albums in American recording history.

Features 20 recipes for traditional Sonoran dishes and Ronstadt family recipes in sumptuous two-page spreads throughout the text.

Feels Like Home features classic Sonoran recipes, including

Caldo de Queso

(Sonoran Cheese Soup)

"This soup embodies what I love about Sonoran cooking—it's deliciously simple. Some restaurants in Tucson serve a goopy cheese soup and call it Sonoran; this isn't that."

—Linda Ronstadt

About the Authors

Lina Ronstadt, the great-granddaughter of Friedrich Ronstadt and Margarita Ronstadt of Sonora, Mexico, is one of the world’s most acclaimed singers. Her six-decade career encompassed rock, folk, country, light opera, Mexican songs and American standards. She has sold more than 100 million records, won 12 Grammy awards and is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, won a Grammy for best musical films in 2021. Follow Linda on Instagram and Facebook.

Lawrence Downes is a writer and editor in New York. For more than thirty years he worked in newspapers: the Chicago Sun-TimesNewsday, and the New York Times. At the Times he was an editor and member of the editorial board, and he wrote about immigration, New York city and state politics and government, disability rights, veterans affairs, the environment, and other subjects. He lives in Northport, New York, with his wife, the journalist Patricia Wiedenkeller.

Bill Steen has been photographing, exploring, learning, and sharing the beauty and bounty of the Sonoran borderlands for more than three decades. With his wife, Athena Swentzell Steen, he is a founder of the Canelo Porject, near Elgin, Arizona, a family-based community and an applied educational center that gives people hands-on experience with a lifestyle that aims to be sustainable. The Steens are the authors, with David Bainbridge, of The Straw Bale House and numerous other books about straw-bale construction and sustainable living.

Feels Like Home is personal and revealing—with vivid portraits of her forebears who immigrated first to Northern Mexico and then Tucson, Arizona, with striking photographs, family letters, and an array of recipes and songs, she weaves together an unforgettable tale of her life and talented musical family. This is quintessentially an American story—touching, and well worth reading.”

JERRY BROWN, former governor of California