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Albums Of The Week: Santana | Blessings And Miracles

The cosmic guitar slinger sees plenty of stars on his latest groovy Latin-rock outing.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Carlos Santana’s star-studded album Blessings And Miracles finds the Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist’s aiming higher than ever. “The title of this album comes from my belief that we’re born with heavenly powers that allows us to create blessings and miracles,” Santana says. “The world programs you to be unworthy of those gifts, but we have to utilize light, spirit and soul – they’re indestructible and immutable. Those are the three main elements on this album.”

In addition to a reunion with Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas (who sang on Santana’s massive 1999 comeback his Smooth), Blessings And Miracles sees the guitarist collaborating with a diverse host of brilliant artists, writers and producers — including Chris Stapleton, G-Eazy, Diane Warren, Steve Winwood, Chick Corea, Rick Rubin, Corey Glover, Kirk Hammett, Ally Brooke, American Authors and Narada Michael Walden, among others — on genre-bending, hook-filled knockout musical celebrations. The record also features bravura performances from members of Santana’s touring band (including drummer Cindy Blackman Santana and singer Tommy Anthony), as well as impeccable vocals and keyboards by the guitarist’s son Salvador Santana, and stunning lead vocals by daughter Stella Santana.

Expectations understandably run high for the renewed pairing of Santana and Thomas, whose Grammy-winning smash Smooth became a worldwide staple. Their new collaboration Move is a grinding, grooving mix of pop and Latin rock with. Thomas, backed by the vocal talents of American Authors, is dynamic and sensual, and Santana matches his supreme performance with solos that explode with tectonic force.

Move came about very much like how Smooth happened,” Santana recalls. “It was like divine intelligence behind the scenes, and I just knew I had to record it with Rob. The song is about awakening your molecules. Ignite and activate yourself — you know, move. When Rob and I work together, we have a sound that’s splendiferous.”

The album’s second single, She’s Fire, is a hypnotically soulful ballad written by award-winning, chart-topping composer Diane Warren, and it sees Santana wrapping his exquisite guitar melodies around an enticing narrative spun by the rapper G-Eazy. “I’m so honored that Diane reached out to me and sent me her songs,” says Santana. Of G-Eazy, the guitarist is no less effusive. “He’s so talented. I’m thrilled at how we both sound on this song,” he says. “It reminds me of when Bill Graham once told me: ‘Your music is spiritual and sensual. That’s who you are.’ And that’s the message of She’s Fire.”

Santana spent much of the past two years recording Blessings And Miracles, serving as producer and collaborating with other record makers. Recording during Covid created a challenge only in that some musicians were separated geographically, beamed into sessions via technology; inspiration, however, was never in short supply. “It’s amazing how we can record together these days without being in the same studio,” Santana notes. “I just close my eyes and I’m in the same room with whomever I’m playing with, even if they’re somewhere far away. We share frequencies together.”

As for the stellar talents on Blessings And Miracles, Santana admits that he’s sometimes surprised at how they magically enter his life. “I don’t choose people — it’s like I’m chosen,” he says. “But, of course, I’m honored to work with such incredible artists. I’m a surfer riding those waves that become songs by different artists, creators and architects. I’m very fortunate that I have the opportunity to do that. It’s a gift I don’t take for granted.”