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Gina Sicilia - Canít Control Myself

Viztone/ Swingnation Records

10 tracks: 38mins 34 secs

www.ginasicilia.com

Gina Sicilia is an Italian American, whose family come originally from southern Italy, now living in Philadelphia, but whose soul comes from Chicago and/or Memphis via New Orleans but with a nod towards Nashville. She released her debut CD, Allow Me To Confess, in 2007, and in 2008 was nominated for Best New Artist Debut, at the Blues Foundation Music Awards in Memphis. Her second album, Hey Sugar, is described on her website as a legitimate contender for top honors in the worlds of Classic Country and Americana, and herein (for me at least) lies the problem.

There is no doubt at all that Ms Sicilia has a wonderful contralto voice with a wide range. She can sing like an angel AND like a devil, all of which comes with a sassy in-your-face style which, I suspect must make for a pretty entertaining live show. This CD hits you from its first track (Ginaís own song Addicted) and is remarkable both for the talents of the singer and for the musical abilities of producer, engineer and session man Dave Gross who plays, electric and acoustic guitars, slide guitar, upright and electric bass, drums piano, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3, percussion, accordion, toy piano(!) AND takes backing vocals too; in other words ALL the instruments on all the tracks except horns on two, trumpet on one and lap-steel on one!

The music ranges from 7 songs penned by Gina, through three covers: an Ike and Tina Turner hit, Crazy ĎBout You Baby (here attributed to Willie Dixon, but not sounding a jot like the versions done by him and by the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson (II)); a borrowing from Bobby Bland, Members Only; and a top-ten Stevie Wonder song A Place In The Sun from 1966, a soul single with a Motown stamp. Here, although the singing has a bluesy tinge and the arrangements are wonderful, some sensational, the whole effect of the album is that of a follow-after to the classic country and Americana of Hey Sugar. That is, self development and personal growth, but a move away from the more rootsy feel of Allow Me To Confess. To put it another way, more Nashville tinged pop than Chicago tinged blues. No Blues Foundation nominations here Iím afraid.

Review Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South (www.bluesinthesouth.com) a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see www.myspace.com/ianmckenzieuk) and has a web cast regular blues radio show on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central, 10am Pacific).

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