I loved Raul Malo's last album, "Lucky One", and couldn't see how he'd be able to better it. Well, he hasn't quite managed it with this album but that doesn't stop it being a great collection of songs.
Whilst I don't think this is going to be my favourite album of the year (but easily in the top ten), the first two minutes of opener and title track "Sinners & Saints" is easily the best start to an album I've heard in many a year, with a fantastic trumpet line - think an Ennio Morroconi western theme and you'll get the idea! And then a minute or so further in there's a great guitar solo from Malo. Great track!
It's a real mixed bag of styles, with 60s sounding "Living for Today", a Mavericks sounding Tex-Mex flavour in "San Antonio Baby", a Cajan tinged "Superstar", and a Spanish torch song in "Sombras" (and watch out for Malo's UK only EP "This is Raul Malo" which features a superb Spanish version of "Man Without Love" ("Cuando Me Enamoro")Rodney Crowell).
The middle of the album features two great tracks, a stunning cover of Rodney Crowell's "'Til I Gain Control Again", which I'm sure will bring a lump to your throat, and "Staying Here", which features a chugging "Gentle on my Mind" sounding rhythm with a great pay off line of "For now I'll be right by your side, And hope things will turn out right, But I'm staying here with leaving on my mind". Excellent stuff!
Really good album, highly recommended.