Review: Gina Sicilia – Can’t Control Myself

Posted on: Monday, Jun 13, 2011

GINA SICILIA
“Can’t Control Myself”
(Swingnation Records – SNCD388011 – part of VizzTone label group)

Philadelphia singer Gina Sicilia is a lady who appears to have been around for a good while, but it’s only four years since her debut album, “Allow Me To Confess”, caught my attention. Now at a still tender age of 25 her third recording is with us, “Can’t Control Myself”, produced by her partner and label mate, the equally hugely talented Dave Gross – who as well as producing the album plays virtually every instrument – deep breath time now – electric and acoustic guitar, slide guitar, upright and electric bass, drums, piano, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3, percussion, accordion, toy piano and background vocals!

The ten tracks on offer contain seven penned by Gina Sicilia herself, and just three covers, with the music on offer being very varied . . . from blues to soul and Americana flavourings, all containing her strong, confident and maturing voice and the afore-mentioned musical excellence of Dave Gross. The only other musicians here appear fleetingly – Matt Cowan (baritone and tenor saxophone) on two tracks, Jon Erik-Kellso (trumpet) and Sean Daly (lap steel) on one track each.

The album is off to a great start with the raunchy “Addicted”, which rides on a tough guitar hook from Dave Gross and Matt Cowan’s honking baritone saxophone,and passionate vocal from the lady herself. She turns to a Willie Dixon tune in “Crazy ‘Bout You Baby”, which Gross kicks off with a ‘Stonesy’ riff, and also shines here on organ. The soul classic “Members Only”, a song probably best known for Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland’s version, is in safe hands here . . . underpinned by Dave Gross’s slippery slide guitar and vocal from the heart from Gina Sicilia.

Her own “Before The Night Is Through” recalls the classic soul of Atlantic Records heyday with bands such as The Drifters and The Coasters, and has a delightful summery feel to it on this tale of romance and love. Another treat is the Stevie Wonder hit from 1966, “A Place In The Sun”, another interpretation that works just fine, with the all-round Mr. Gross starring on accordion, amongst other instruments, here. The title track, “Can’t Control Myself” is a self-penned Gina Sicilia song with a warm country feel to it.

Elsewhere, “As Long As You’re Here” is a soulful ballad with big vocal to match; while “Wish The Clock Would Stop” is an uptempo, mainly acoustic number with fine trumpet by Jon-Erik Kellso, who takes a superb solo. The lovely Americana leanings of “Once In A While” ends proceedings, with fellow guest Sean Daly shining on lap steel, and tasteful fingerpicked guitar from Dave Gross, as Gina Sicilia sings here heart out, as indeed she does throughout this fine album.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.ginasicilia.com

www.swingnationrecords.com

www.vizztone.com

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