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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gina Sicilia - Can't Control Myself

Gina Sicilia - Can't Control Myself
2011, Swingnation Records/Vizztone

Philadelphia singer/songwriter Gina Sicilia has been making waves in Blues, R&B, rock and country now for four years.  The 25-year-old has already been nominated for a “Best New Artist Debut” at the Blue Music Awards in Memphis, Tennessee.  Sicilia recently released her third album, Can’t Control Myself, showing off her distinctive voice, and a blend of original songs and classic covers.

Sicilia kicks things off with "Addicted", showing off an impressive, deep and smooth alto voice. There's a lot of sound to hang onto here, even if Sicilia sticks to a very compact range. A more soulful sound works its way into "Crazy Bout You Baby", and Sicilia works the song through with good energy. There's something missing here, though. Sicilia sounds great, and no one can say she doesn't put herself into the performance, but for someone whose songs are so steeped in the blues; you never quite get the sense that Sicilia feels that fundamental fatalism that underlies the genre. Much the same impression is won by "Members Only" -- once again Sicilia sounds wonderful, but she doesn't sell the soul of the song the way she might.

"Before The Night Is Through" is a great vehicle for Sicilia's voice, and might just be the best pure vocal performance of the album. "Can't Control Myself" plays in the same territory. Sicilia plays the relentless, heavy cadence of the song well, although this is perhaps a bit overdone in the end. Listeners finally get to hear a different dimension of Gina Sicilia on the closing track, "Once In A While". Sicilia opens up voice, showing off some wonderful timbres in her upper range. The distinctly country feel of the song also is a nice change of pace, and fitting for where Sicilia lives musically. This is the most nuanced performance of the album, and bodes well for the future.

Gina Sicilia impresses on Can't Control Myself. She's got a knockout voice, and a bit more range than you might think after listening to most of the album. Her more blues and soul based performances have an almost academic air at times, seemingly separated from the deep emotions that underwrite the respective genres, but Sicilia wraps her voice around you in waves and suddenly it doesn't seem to matter quite so much. The country turn at the end of the album is a great sidebar, and shows off a slice of Sicilia's voice that might be even more intriguing than the big sound she practices on much of Can't Control Myself. Sicilia has a real future with her voice, and while this is a great start, she might have a bit of soul-searching to do on her sound. She's definitely one to watch.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

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