The styles on Gina Chavez’s “Up.Rooted” range far, from reggaeton to cumbia to folk and hushed electronics-and-strings ballads, but the Austin, Texas, singer’s sophomore album is also a fine product of her city’s musical terroir, with local producer Michael Ramos at the controls, and the Grupo Fantasma horn section adding sass to what is already a vibrant outing. Chavez, who has spent long periods doing youth work in Central America, wears her social conscience lightly, as on “Maiz,” with its subtext of NAFTA agricultural politics, and “Siete-D,” a funky, rapped tribute to urban San Salvador. Most striking is Chavez’s ease as she moves between social and love songs, between North American and Latin genres, and even between languages: When she passes mid-song from English to Spanish and back, as on “Gotta Get” and “The Sweet Sound of Your Name,” it’s the most natural thing in the world. The result is an album that’s as confident as it is refreshing. (Out Tuesday)
Essential “Gotta Get”Siddhartha Mitter can be reached at email@example.com.