DePedro, "DePedro"

83 Billboard Rating

Spanish singer-songwriter Jairo Zavala, well-known in Spanish rock circles for his work with Amparanoia and Vacazul, became a touring member of Tucson, Ariz.-based rock band Calexico in 2004. So on his solo debut, "DePedro," for which Zavala records under the same name, members of Calexico return the favor, with stunning results. "Te Sigo Sonando" displays romantic street cafe tones, with accordion and minimalist percussion, and the Tex-Mex, mariachi-flavored "Como El Viento" is a showcase for Zavala's agile fretwork and playful Spanish lyric phrasings. The English-sung "Two Parts in One" is a pulsing, desert-rock tune that features vocals from Calexico's Joey Burns. The album -- the first full-length to be released by National Geographic's recently established Nat Geo Music -- is one of this year's left-field delights. --Fred Mills