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CD Review: Rodrigo y Gabriela's 11:11 

The Deal: Instrumental acoustic duo releases follow-up to 2006's self-titled debut.

The Good: Rodrigo y Gabriela was an act that at 2007's Bonnaroo had everyone asking, "Who is that?!?" The attention was justified. The duo uses its metal backgrounds to create energetic, sometimes frenzied, songs on acoustic guitars that come through as clear as day. There are brief hints of electric guitar, but nothing that takes away from the spirit of the songwriting. While the first album had a few covers – Metallica included – this one is all originals. There's also a brief appearance by Testament's Alex Skolnick on "Atman." "Buster Voodoo" pays tribute to Hendrix while other tracks are dedicated to Dimebag Darrell, Pink Floyd, Al Di Meola and other band influences. The precision in picking, plucking and strumming – and overall performance – is jaw-dropping. In addition to the CD, a DVD is included that has a brief interview, tutorial of the song "Buster Voodoo" and some rehearsal footage (seeing them play is half of the enjoyment.)

The Bad: No problemos.

The Verdict: No lyrics needed. I haven't met anyone who has heard them or seen them perform that wasn't immediately impressed. Two of the most talented guitar players in the world – easily. Add this one to the Best of '09 list, too.

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