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R2 Rock'n'Reel Reviews Baladista

Joel Rafael - Baldista

The acoustic style of American singer-songwriter Joel Rafael harkens back to the halcyon days of the 60s when artists armed only with a guitar and harmonica regularly made the charts. Rafael is himself a survivor of those exciting but turbulent times and a devotee of Woody Guthrie, whose music he has recorded and performed to critical acclaim. Similarly his own songs reflect, with insight and wisdom, on his own ramblin' days and how the world in turn has marked him.

Baladista (Spanish for 'singer/writer of songs') is imbued with an unhurried grace. Fine songs such as 'She Had To Go' and 'El Bracero' are typical. The former, a wistful, melodic tune whose lyric expresses regrets for a lost love to home Rafael's thoughts still return, is a theme to which we can all possibly relate, while 'El Bracero' tells of the exploitation by the USA of Mexican workers during World War II and, in doing so, directly connects to issues prevalent in the present day.

Beautifully paced and preformed, Baladista is one of those records that lingers in the heart and head, like a good friend to whom you can always turn when your faith in humankind needs restoring.

-Colin Hall
R2 Rock'n'Reel

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