Jorge Drexler's first studio album in four years and ninth to date, Amar la Trama is nothing short of tremendous, another excellent full-length effort by the Uruguayan singer/songwriter who resides in Spain. Like previous albums by Drexler, it showcases his sublime talent as a lyricist and his enchanting vocals, which are comfortingly reminiscent of Brazilian legend Caetano Veloso. From a musical standpoint, however, it's rather unique among his recent full-length releases. Unafraid of challenging himself and taking artistic risks, he recorded Amar la Trama over the course of four days live in a Madrid television studio in front of a small audience of lucky fans who were selected in an online contest. The reasoning behind this recording method was that it would give the music the engaging directness of a concert recording, albeit in a controlled environment that allowed for multiple takes and studio production quality. Drexler sings and plays guitar and is joined by a band comprised of additional guitarists, a rhythm section, a horn section, backup vocalists, and auxiliary musicians. Former collaborator Matías Cella is credited with production. Notably absent is the light electronica of previous albums. In contrast, the music of Amar la Trama is totally organic and mostly acoustic. Moreover, the horn section that pops up now and then gives the album a touch of jazz, most evidently on "I Don't Worry About a Thing" and "Todos a Sus Puestos." The former song, a cover of the Mose Allison standard from 1962 that teams Drexler with Ben Sidran on duet vocals and organ, is a lot of fun even if it's somewhat out of place here on Amar la Trama. Other guest features include Spanish guitarist Josemi Carmona on "Las Transeúntes" and Spanish vocalist/actress (and girlfriend) Leonor Watling on "Toque de Queda." While there's nothing except good songs on Amar la Trama, there are a few standouts worthy of special mention, namely "La Trama y el Desenlace," "Mundo Abisal," and "Una Canción Me Trajo Hasta Aquí."
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier