When an popular artist makes a return to her musical roots, as Gloria Estefan does on Mi Tierra, it can signal either a welcome renewal of creative energy, as was the case with Johnny Cash’s Rick Rubin helmed American recordings, or a strained gesture towards a dwindling and aging fan base (see Rod Stewart’s somewhat awkward Great American Songbook). Thankfully Mi Tierra finds Gloria Estefan gracefully assuming a role she seems to have been meant to play, the impassioned Latina torch singer from the bygone era of big bands and supper clubs so perfectly evoked on Mi Tierra’s cover. Though largely comprised of original material Mi Tierra employs the lyrical tropes, rhythmic reversals, and familiar motuno riffing of countless Salsa and Son classics. Where Estefan’s work with the Miami Sound Machine saw the singer turning out glossy copies of TK records’ infectious Latin-disco sound, Mi Tierra takes the dignified melancholy and joyful exuberance of Cuban born songstress Celia Cruz as its main touchstone. Though Estefan’s voice lacks the impassioned grit and dynamic subtlety of Cruz’s gruff but disciplined wail, songs like the impressive “Volveras,” prove that what Estefan sometimes lacks in emotional range, she makes up for with sheer technical mastery.