Del Castillo


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The Austin-based Latino sextet's third album adds a few more English language songs to its predominantly Spanish repertoire, but otherwise it's a natural extension of the flamenco, blues, rock and world music Del Castillo has perfected since its 2001 inception. The focus remains on brothers Rick and Mark del Castillo's fiery and usually frantic fret-slashing work on Spanish (ie: acoustic, nylon stringed) guitars, but the duo add their flashy fireworks to this hour-long disc with admirable restraint. Alternately bubbly and sizzling percussion from percussionist Rik Holeman along with enthusiastic singer Alex Ruiz fuels a set of predominantly originals that finds its groove between the band's Tex-Mex roots and the brother's jazz-tinged guitar work. Supporter and fellow Austin-ite Willie Nelson contributes lead vocals on his "I Never Cared for You," as a Spanish/English duet with Ruiz, with Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson handling production for the track. Not nearly as bluesy or Stevie Ray Vaughan-influenced as los Lonely Boys but with as much soul, this should appeal to pop fans as well as admirers of Al di Meola and Paco de Lucia's work. "Ganate el Mundo" swings on a walking bassline similar to a Mexican "Stray Cat Strut," especially in the guitar solo, and the spirits of los Lobos and Carlos Santana are never far from the surface. The mix of ballads with upbeat tunes, English and Spanish lyrics, is well-sequenced and should attract a larger audience. The sound is crisp and beautifully recorded, with the acoustic guitars perfectly balanced in the mix, making this a logical album to break Del Castillo into the wider recognition it obviously deserves and is gearing towards.

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