CARLOS SANTANA Streaming New Single “Whiter Shade Of Pale” Feat. STEVE WINWOOD
September 21, 2021, a month ago
Multi-Grammy Award-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Carlos Santana will release the third single off his star-studded, masterful new album, Blessings and Miracles (out via BMG on October 15), a collaboration with the legendary vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, Grammy winner and BMI Icon Steve Winwood on the classic “Whiter Shade Of Pale.”
Taking on a classic is sometimes risky, but Santana’s pairing with fellow legend Steve Winwood on the Procol Harum gem “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” puts all fears to rest. It’s a resplendent, marvelously realized retelling, a nourishing hymn for the modern age, on which the two musical giants discover new pockets of beauty at every turn.
As it was on the original, there’s an elegiac feel throughout, but there’s also a romantic element that never existed before. Winwood’s voice, a wondrously singular instrument, is stirring and deeply moving, and Santana channels Matthew Fisher’s original organ lines on guitar with reverence while putting his own unique stamp on the timeless melodies. With each passage, he lifts us higher and higher into bliss.
Santana recalls how he and Winwood were at a show in London’s Hyde Park, and he went up to him and suggested they record the song. “I said, ‘You and I have to do it, but we’re going to do it very sexy, like a Hare Krishna but with congas.’ I played the components in his ear, and he said, ‘I hear it, Carlos. You’re right.’ So that’s what we did – it’s Santana, Cuban, Puerto Rican in an African way. And man, you talk about sexy. Steve’s voice is so sexy and beautiful.”
Winwood says, “Carlos has been doing what I’ve been trying to do for the last 50 years, namely combining elements of rock, jazz, folk, and Latin Afro-Caribbean music. Carlos’ genius comes in large part from a wonderful combination of rock music with Latin-Cuban rhythms. I’ve played with Carlos on numerous occasions over the past fifty years and I’m very excited to be working with him again still.”
In addition to “Whiter Shade Of Pale,” the album’s first single “Move,” featuring Rob Thomas and Zac Barnett from American Authors, and Santana’s collaboration “She’s Fire” with Diane Warren and G-Eazy is available now.
Blessings And Miracles is one of the most ambitious, inspired and magical albums of Santana’s storied career, on which the legendary guitarist aims 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 the above talents, Blessings And Miracles sees Santana collaborating with a diverse host of brilliant artists, writers and producers including Chris Stapleton, Steve Winwood, Chick Corea, Rick Rubin, Corey Glover, Kirk Hammett, Ally Brooke 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 with the pairing of Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas, whose 1999 multiple Grammy-winning smash “Smooth” became a worldwide staple – and the two performers have turned in a new classic. “Move” is a grinding, grooving and breathtaking mix of pop and Latin rock with sure-fire hooks for days. Thomas, backed by the vocal talents of Zac Barnett and 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 that works its way into your body chemistry and stays there. It’s one of two cuts written by mega-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. Regarding 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 that appear alongside him 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.”
Ahead of the release of Blessings And Miracles, Santana and his band will mark their long-awaited return to the concert stage after 18 months off. On August 25, Santana will resume their multi-year residency at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas (shows run from August 25 thru September. 4, with additional dates from November 3 thru December 11).
Santana’s Blessings And Miracles tour begins on September 11 at the Borgata Spa & Resort in Atlantic City, NJ, and will make stops in Richmond, VA, Orlando, Augusta, Tulsa, and more before it concludes on October 2 at the Choctaw Grand Theater in Durant, OK.
Blessings And Miracles tracklisting:
"Ghost Of Future Pull/ New Light"
"Rumbalero" (featuring Salvador Santana & Asdru Sierra)
"Joy" (Carlos Santana & Chris Stapleton)
"Move" (Carlos Santana, Rob Thomas, Zac Barnett & American Authors)
"A Whiter Shade Of Pale" (featuring Steve Winwood)
"Break" (featuring Ally Brooke)
"She’s Fire" (Diane Warren, G-Eazy & Carlos Santana)
"Peace Power" (featuring Corey Glover)
"America For Sale" (featuring Kirk Hammett & Marc Osegueda)
"Breathing Underwater" (featuring Stella Santana, Avi Snow, MVCA)
"Song For Cindy"
"Angel Choir" (featuring Gayle Moran Corea)/ "All Together" (featuring Chick Corea)
"Ghost Of Future Pull II"
* Vinyl Edition of Blessings And Miracles includes "Yo Estare" (featuring Ally Brooke)
"Whiter Shade Of Pale":
"She's Fire" lyric video: