Jim Stubblefield is a very good Spanish-guitar player, and he proves it again on his latest solo album, ENCANTADO. Let’s clarify. Spanish guitar is both a type of instrument and a style of playing. The type of instrument is a nylon-string acoustic-guitar (with holes in the neck where the tuning pegs are up at the top, and this is also considered a classical music guitar). The style, which is often called Latin-style, incorporates a lot of what originated (mostly with the gypsies years ago) in Spain, and it spread throughout the Mediterranean as well to the Caribbean, Latin America and South America. The style incorporates a combination of finger-picking and strumming, and much of its heritage is caught up in flamenco, so sometimes the modern or contemporary style is referred to either as nouveau flamenco or nuevo flamenco. But true Spanish guitar playing has more to it than just flamenco. Stubblefield not only plays a lot of Spanish-style guitar (modern flamenco plus other Spanish/Latin-based licks), but he takes it even a step further and incorporates aspects of his musical upbringing which includes playing acoustic steel-string and electric guitars, plus working in hints of the prog-rock and jazz that he grew up on. He also branches out to include a little Celtic and Arabic/Mid-Eastern influences.

All of this makes ENCANTADO a very exciting recording. But there is more! He shares the spotlight with violinist Novi Novog (Google her credits. Wow!), bassist Randy Tico and drummer/percussionist Ramon Yslas, plus three other special guests. These musicians are extremely impressive and sound like they have been playing together for years. This shows how Stubblefield is not only a very good musician, but also an excellent songwriter, arranger and producer.

Even though this is his sixth solo album, Stubblefield might be even better known as one of the founders, guitarists and songwriters in the popular touring group Incendio (eight albums).

There is no point dissecting every melody, change of guitars and world-fusion genre dabble on ENCANTADO, but be assured that if you like passionate Latin-flavored, mostly-acoustic, instrumental music, you should definitely, absolutely check out this recording. Disappointment is doubtful and happiness is fairly assured.