Sinners & Saints

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On the follow-up to 2009’s Lucky One, the former Mavericks vocalist again attempts to blend his Latin and Tex-Mex influences with country elements on a lean but enjoyable nine-song set. While the concept is concrete, the execution is at times hit and miss. Raul effortlessly pilots emotionally charged versions of Rodney Crowell’s “’Til I Gain Control Again” and the Spanish standard “Sombras,” yet tracks such as “Matter Much to You” lack his usual vocal vibrancy. Accordionist Michael Guerra and Texas Tornado vet Augie Meyers top a list of guests who help bring the Tex-Mex border flavor. A cover of East-L.A. roots-rockers Los Lobos’ “Saint Behind the Glass” makes for a stirring finale, effectively bringing the album’s broad Hispanic exploration full circle.  —jessica phillips

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