Stubblefield and company offer a selection of ten Latin-inspired songs on this album. The instrumentation includes Stubblefield on guitars, keyboards and synthesizers, bass, a variety of percussion, strings, and a bit of vocal work.

The album begins with “St Tropez,” a laid-back guitar ballad with superb percussion. Track 2: Caravan of Souls features layers of guitars with a soulful viola melody topping a dance-worthy drum track. Track 3: Azure leans toward the ambient genre with its spacey synth intro. It swings into a lovely haunting string melody. Track 4: Before the Storm opens with a wonderful congo and bass duet that lures the listener into the song. Track 5: Café is a typical south-of-the-border guitar ballad with a swinging pace.

The second half of the album gets a little more spacey. Track 6: Voyager Aeternam continues with the same instrumentation filled out with more synths. Track 7: Moonlight Requiem features a somber elegiac acoustic guitar melody that slowly spins out and is dramatically developed by a string section. Track 8: Oculus Tempestatis picks up the pace a bit with a compelling dance rhythm and wandering vocal line. The song is laden with sensuous melodies and lightning fast guitar riffs. Track 9: Rumba Furioso is an energetic dance tune. The middle of the song expands into layers of intense guitar work. Track 10: Sueno Pacifico  The final Track 10: Sueno Pacifico slides into a more contemporary adult genre with a sophisticated percussion layer beneath a clear guitar lead. The lead shifts to a hot electric guitar lead that smokes its way out of the song.

Stubblefield and his musicians perform with are consistent skill and artistry. This CD is produced with high engineering standards and offers tunes that are catchy and sophisticated. Quite fine for listening and driving. This CD gets an 8 on the Coven Renegade Vehicle scale (the Poo Car is no more).

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artist: Jim Stubblefield
2017 Natural Elements Records, Inc.
CD 12.98, download $9.99 (CD Baby)

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