Album Spotlight: Sammy Arriaga, ‘Banjos ‘n’ Bongos Acoustic Mixtape’
Sammy Arriaga’s Banjos 'n' Bongos EP is what a warm holiday sounds like. The six diverse, Latin-flavored country songs lean into his heritage, but stay firmly planted in the contemporary Nashville sound. He’s an artist that will draw positive comparison to a dozen others — quite an accomplishment in just six songs.
Vocally, this confident 23-year-old is expressive and personable. He’s like mid-career Kenny Chesney at times, with enough swagger to grab your attention, but not so much that he’s a turnoff. Love songs are what he does best. The Cuban beat sounds sweetest when paired with an upbeat story of spontaneous romance, as found on songs like "Lifeguard Stand."
"Banjos 'n' Bongos" is a feel-good, danceable love song that’s irresistible without being as dispensable as the foam on a summer shandy. Producer Lalo Guzman is at his best here, lifting this acoustic arrangement up for Arriaga to play with.
EPs can be tricky, as it's very difficult to introduce all sides of an artist's personality in four to six songs. Arriaga does a better job than most on Banjos 'n' Bongos, available at iTunes and Spotify now. It’s the perfect summer soundtrack.
Did You Know?: "Just Another" features fellow country newcomer Jillian Jacqueline.
Key Tracks: "Banjos 'n' Bongos," "Margarita Talk," "Lifeguard Stand"
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