Gaby Moreno Breathes New Life into Deep Cuts and Places Them Center Stage on Acoustic EP “X Mí (Vol. 1)”

Gaby Moreno 2023 EP cover
X Mí (Vol. 1) cover

Across the span of 15 years, Guatemalan-American singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno has built up an impressive discography marked by Latin and US Grammy nominations. Not showing any signs of stopping, she’s decided to look back with a new EP titled X Mí (Vol. 1), a collection of previously released songs now re-recorded for acoustic versions. Besides the Oscar Isaac-featuring single “Luna de Xelajú,” each track on the EP was chosen by Moreno herself for what she aims to be a project that accurately reflects her creative control over her music. Though an acoustic guitar carries each song along, Moreno does more than enough to differentiate them and justify her emotionally revealing reimaginings of songs from her back catalog.


Please note: This post may contain affiliate links.

Without missing a beat, X Mí paces itself and opens up the EP into a calm state of mind, not unlike the intimacy of playing at a small venue. The tender ballad “Fronteras – Acústico” starts on a similar note to The White Stripes’ iconic “We’re Going to Be Friends,” but Moreno steers into blues territory and has the more impressive performance in comparison. The sole English lyric, “This is where I belong,” hits harder than it would if the entire song was sung in English. Even if you don’t understand Spanish, the emotion is evident in her voice.


“Intento – Acústico” is, on first impression, an upbeat interpretation of Moreno’s original song. The guitar strumming moves ahead like an oncoming train, pushing forward through any potential roadblock or blight. But the lyrics couldn’t be farther from the sounds of an optimistic station, speaking rather frankly about feeling defeated and accepting the lost feeling when there’s nowhere to go.

On a technical level, Moreno hits high notes like they’re nothing. Out of each track, “Juegos y Miedos – Acústico” might be the best example. That’s not to underscore the somber closer, undoubtedly the EP’s most crushing that’s initially silent in tone. However, it does benefit from how much closer the emotionally spiraling lyrics feel, thanks to the acoustic instrumentation.

Moreno’s voice is subdued. Not because she’s holding back but because the core of the song’s message calls for it. That is, until the second half, where she howls like a wolf and lets free to show why her voice continues to stun.

artist to watch in 2023

Considering the EP is listed as the first volume, it’s safe to assume Moreno will release more acoustic covers. She’s far from the first musician to do this and will definitely not be the last. But unlike other peers and artists of varying talents, her careful selection of sensitive songs shows a dedication to getting it right. X Mí (Vol. 1) absolutely gets it right, and so would another volume if it’s to come in the foreseeable future.

Words: David Sosa

X Mí (Vol. 1) by Gaby Moreno is out on all streaming services. For more on her music and live shows, follow Moreno on Instagram and her website.

Best Summer Music Festival in Southern California
submit your new song
influential black women femalesingers