Santana: Blessings and Miracles

Blessings and Miracles

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One can’t help but feel amazed listening to Blessings and Miracles that an artist of Carlos Santana’s caliber is still producing music. His new album features guest stars (as lots of the man’s most recent high-profile music has; his Grammy topping 1999 album Supernatural is a case in point) but thankfully relegated to a position humbly in service to Carlos’ singular vision for the songs here.

All but wrestling with a vibrato bar on opener “Ghost of Future Pull/New Light,” it’s not until the second tune, “Santana Celebration,” that the signature Santana percussion and organ pulls us in, and Carlos begins his true playing.

Along the way, there’s Steve Winwood singing to Santana’s noodling on a spot-on recreation of “Whiter Shade of Pale,” and rapper G-Eazy’s doing his thing (which here is so-so at best) on “She’s Fire.” The modern dry sound of a drum machine and Santana’s lead guitar makes the tune a solid amalgamation of the new and iconic.

Near the end of Blessings and Miracles, things get wonderfully heavy. Santana plays around Corey Glover’s vocal on the hippie paean “Peace Power,” and trades with Kirk Hammett as Death Angel’s Mark Osegueda sings about “America for Sale.”

Through the latter, more mainstream success of Mr. Santana’s career, I often bemoaned how we lost too much of Carlos Santana in all the Grammy wins/hit song parade. On Blessings and Miracles, it sounds like we have the man back in solid form.

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