Jason Castro (Deluxe Version)
Jason Castro' self-titled debut album mixes Jason Mraz-esque folk-pop with hints of R&B, and he has a knack for delivering honeyed tunes without being cloying. Co-writing most of the album’s material, he builds his songs around his acoustic guitar strumming while sticking to boy/girl themes. “Let’s Just Fall In Love Again” is a natural summer single, the perfect anthem for couples reaffirming their affection. The skip-along rhythm of “This Heart of Mine” and the balmy soul of “Love Uncompromised” are in a similarly tender vein. Castro reaches out to a misused lady-friend in “You Can Always Come Home” (a duet with Serena Ryder) and unreels a delicately erotic fantasy in “It Matters to Me.” A yearning rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” — the tune that earned him instant attention on American Idol — closes the album on an exalted note. Castro may over-emote at times, but he always projects genuine warmth and a scruffy sort of class. At his best, his good vibes are downright contagious.