Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

GINA SICILIA

Can't Control Myself

2011-05-10

Nick's Picks: 01 Addicted , 03 Members Only

FCC ALERT: Not on this cd

Review of Gina Sicilia can't control myself

This is the third release for this 25-year-old singer/songwriter offering excellent music and listenable lyrics. After listening for awhile, I am really impressed with the level of sophistication (musically speaking) from this talented chanteuse. Right from the start we are treated to a a he-done-me-wrong-so-I'm-drinkin'-myself-to-death-song with a wry sense of humor, sung in a smokey, deep-throated, "so hot, I'm on fire" voice ("Addicted"). If I didn't know better, I would swear that Gina sounds exactly like Grace Potter (and that is a compliment) on the third cut ("Members Only") - I almost get the impression that she is making love to the mic - so into the music and lyrics does she go. "Before The Night Is Through" sounds an awful lot like a reggae derivation of a song performed by The Drifters ("Under The Boardwalk"), but I like her music better. I also like her twist on a classic Stevie Wonder song ("A Place In The Sun"), with the full instrumental vibrato. Gina is really developing some awesome songwriting skills, and this album is full of some of the best writing I have heard in awhile. "Can't Control Myself" is a very good example of her ability to not only write great music, but to perform it equally well. And now that she has mastered the blues, she has dipped her toes in the country waters ("As Long As You're Here"). After listening to this cd, I have not been able to pigeon-hole her singing style, either. One time she sounds remarkably like Amy Winehouse ("Wish The Clock Would Stop"), a deep breath, and she comes on like a suburban Crystal Gayle ("Once In A While"). With the exception of the subject matter ("Crazy 'Bout You, Baby"), Gina Sicilia sounds like a female version of CCR's John Fogerty. I can only say that I fully expect to hear much more from this talented young lady.

That's my two nickel's worth...................................Nick

ARTIST BIO: Gina Sicilia: Vocals Dave Gross: Background vocals, acoustic & electric guitar, slide guitar, electric & upright bass, drums, piano, wurlitzer, B3, accordion, toy piano; Matt Cowan Bariton & tenor saxophones Jon-Erik Kellso: Trumpet; Sean Daly: lap steel; To be sure, Philadelphia-based vocalist and songwriter Gina Sicilia has come a long way in a relatively short time in the blues world. This is not to say that she's some new up-and-comer, either, as this woman in her mid-twenties has been actively singing the blues and writing her own songs since she was an adolescent.  Exposed to blues and roots music by her parents, Sicilia began writing her own songs as a 12-year-old. By the time she was 16, she would have some of the songs that would be included on her debut album. She graduated in 2007 from Temple University in Philadelphia with a degree in journalism. It was during her sophomore year in college that she began attending the weekly blues jams at Warmdaddy's in Philadelphia. She cut her teeth there and began to learn and develop as she associated with blues veterans, some of whom would help her record her first few demo discs. When her debut album, Allow Me to Confess , was released in 2007, the critical reaction was positive. She was talked about as an important new voice in the blues with a maturity far beyond her years, evident in her choice of covers, where she interpreted oft-overlooked rhythm & blues classics. In the spring of 2008, her album was nominated for "Best New Artist Debut" at the W.C. Handy/Blues Music Awards in Memphis.  Her second release, Hey Sugar , let fans know that while she was only in her early twenties, she could also tackle alternative country and Americana tunes with virtuosity and aplomb. Her third release is the powerful Can't Control Myself , released on March 1, 2011, just days before her 26th birthday. Sicilia  widens her stylistic palette even more with this disc, fusing classic blues, classic R&B, soul, and Americana tunes into a cohesive whole. She includes three covers made famous by Bobby "Blue" Bland , Stevie Wonder , and Ike & Tina Turner . Her third album was recorded and engineered by her VizzTone labelmate, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriterDave Gross , at his home studios in northern New Jersey.  Blues Revue magazine said of Sicilia 's 2007 debut, "Not since Susan Tedeschi has a young female blues singer made such a strong impression….a remarkable voice." Coupled with good management and a good booking agency, Sicilia should be touring the U.S., Canada, and Europe for years to come. And given the current paucity of truly good female blues singers, this would not be a bad thing.

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.