On his first solo album, the Oscar nominee impresses with his nicely arranged guitar playing but won't wow anyone with his vocals. Wavering between a diluted Louis Armstrong and a pitch-imperfect Eddie Cantor on "She Was Mine," Howard doesn't fare much better with his whispery rap on "Mr. Johnson's Lawn," a tale of teen romance over a Cuban melody. "Sanctuary" is his sweet ballad about Heidi Klum and Seal, but overall, his lyrics are slight. Stick to the Spanish and bluesy instrumentals.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Spanish Love Affair," a sexy samba