An invitation to the musical home of this rising Latin guitarist brings the listener into a powerful ethnic experience full of fire, warmth and family. Offering various tastes of his hometown of East Los Angeles, Villegas starts with the playful musical bearhug "Bienvenidos" (which means "welcome") and an exposure to his plucky, bright style over a rolling groove and a simmering horn section. Albert Salas' piano and a host of percussionists keep the party hopping and it's easy to feel that we're "Entre Amigos" (a similarly feisty jam). Then we meet Villegas' wife, "Mujer Enamorada," whose tale is sung in Spanish by the raspy voiced Jose Garcia (with Villegas' plucky strings on the snappy harmonic lines). All Latin guitarists who capture the heart with a hurricane of sound eventually get around to a few intimate numbers that reveal the romance at the heart of things, and in Villegas' case, those are the dual guitar interlude "Dos Guitarras" and the gentle, loping ballad "Recuerdos De Jerez." Another one of these more intimate gems is fashioned into a lovely samba called "Brazilian Magic." The best tracks, however, are the festive ones that celebrate all the joys of percussion and flamenco-driven magic.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran