Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet


Promised Land


Nick's Picks: 01 Promised Land; 06 Belle; 13 Just For Tonight; 14 We Will Be Reborn.

FCC ALERT: As sweet as the chords on this cd.

Review by Steven "Nick" Nickelson of Gina ForsythPromised Land :

Balladeer – look up the definition, and I imagine you will find a reference to Gina Forsyth. The title cut (“Promised Land”) is so pure and simple, with a depth of feeling emitted by the singer and fellow musicians, that I would swear that she has to be of Irish descent. Her style of writing and performing are very minimalist, but her songwriting and performing really reach down into the listener's inner core to resonate with the primal chords of humanity 's basic needs. Her a capella performance on the second cut (“Lord Have Mercy”) is a prime example of that – no instrument, just simple truths put to music. As a folksinger, her politics seem to target no particular party; instead, her gentle tongue-in-cheek seems aimed at human greed and big business, with a dollop of humor to offset the sad truth of her lyrics (“4th of July”, “Christmas In China”). I am impressed by Gina's mastery of chords, and the way she can “speak” her songs with a rich chord arrangement for carrying the message (“Sweet & Sunny South”) - again with a musical minimalist approach, which works well for her. The next cut on the cd could have all kinds of curse words, but since I don't know cajun, I just have to accept the beauty of the song (“Belle”). I suspect that Gina did her share of busking, because some songs seemed designed to be performed by a single performer – perhaps two (“What I Did On Mardi Gras Day”). Having survived the Katrina disaster, Gina can turn a tragedy into a whimsical commentary on the post-Katrina rash of copper thefts.(“Copper Rooster”). For her sophomore release, this is a melodious and well-written cd. Don't be misled by the relative “newness” of the recording, it does represent many years of learning, playing, and writing. It's a pleasure to listen to a release where the artist actually took time to put out honest, well-written and heartfelt music (eg. “11 Days”, “Just For Tonight”), and not waste the listener's time with fluff or filler. And that's my two nickels' worth........................Nick


Born in Florida and raised in Alabama, Forsyth first came to New Orleans in 1983 to study music at Loyola University; her classmates included keyboardist John “Papa” Gros and trombonist Mark Mullins. As she worked toward a degree in classical violin performance, she commuted to Lafayette on weekends to gig with Sheryl Cormier’s Cajun band. The music, related to but different from the traditional fiddle tunes she already knew, enticed her.“I heard it, and thought it was easy,” Forsyth said. “Then I had to immerse myself in it to play it well. I fell in love with it.” After graduating in 1987, she moved briefly to Lafayette to continue her real-world studies of the indigenous music of south Louisiana. This is her second album.

The Musicians:

・ Gina Forsyth – songwriter,(except 6 – traditional), fiddle, vocals, acoustic guitar

・ Chris Polacheck – electric bass

・ Stephen Randall – percussion

・ Jim Markway – upright bass

・ Mike Barras – drums, percussion

・ Jonno Frishberg – triple-row and cajun accordion

・ Mike West – banjo

The Songs:

1. Promised Land

2. Lord Have Mercy

3. 4th of July

4. Christmas In China

5. Sweet & Sunny South

6. Belle

7. Sparrows

8. What I Did On Mardi Gras Day

9. Copper Rooster

10. Elegy

11. Just Like Eddie

12. 11 Days

13. Just For Tonight

14. We Will Be Reborn

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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.