Never let it be said that norteño has not been diverse in the 1990s and the 21st century. On one hand, norteño has remained the area of regional Mexican music that is the mostly closely identified with narcocorridos (controversial corridos about drug trafficking). That is the Los Tigres del Norte/Los Tucanes de Tijuana/Grupo Exterminador side of norteño -- the edgy side of norteño -- and at the other end of the norteño spectrum are the more commercial, Latin pop-minded acts like Priscila y Sus Balas de Plata. Norteño can be anything from ballsy and in your face to sentimental and romantic, and Otra Vez Juntos (Together Again) is a good example of a norteño CD that is romantically inclined but without venturing into the grupero realm. Paco Barron y Sus Norteños Clan don't have the rough-and-tumble grit of the late narcocorrido master Chalino Sánchez -- that isn't their forte -- but this 2008 release doesn't have the urbane sleekness of Latin pop singer Marco Antonio Solís either. Rather, an earthy, down-home sort of romanticism prevails on tracks like "Dejame Solo" (Leave Me Alone), "Increíble" (Incredible), and "Mentira Para Dos" (A Lie for Two). Otra Vez Juntos isn't grupero, but it does have some Latin pop appeal in addition to its ranchera appeal; lead singer/accordion player Barron's ranchera credentials are especially evident on "Día Nublado" (Cloudy Day) and "Lo Siento por Ti" (I'm Sorry for You). And true to form, Barron includes some cumbia as well -- not cumbia in the strict Colombian sense, but cumbia played in the Tex-Mex fashion one expects from norteño groups. Paco Barron y Sus Norteños Clan have been in the regional Mexican market for many years -- the group's original lineup was formed in 1983 -- and longtime fans will find that while Otra Vez Juntos falls short of essential, it is still a satisfying and respectable addition to their catalog.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson