HEARD THE LIE
Putting the Rhythm and Blues Into the Still Beating Heart of Soul.
While this is Gina Sicilia’s eighth album in 10 years, she only came to my attention in 2016 with her Tug of War album; which I reviewed favourably .
A lot has happened in the interim; and I’m not able to do a compare and contrast even if I wanted to; as I can’t fine the review or original disc!
So; I will do what I do best and treat this as a singular release all of its very own; and ignore the accompanying Press Release too.
Opening track I Don’t Want To Be In Love is a dark and sultry late night ballad that goes places we’ve all been at one time or another; and remain under the surface until songs like this come along, and we end up resting our chins on folded arms letting out winsome sighs as the music flits around the room.
Things don’t exactly pep up a bit on the next song; Damaging Me; although the melody is eminently danceable in the same way Stax used to do better than everyone else back ‘in the day’.
That last sentence sums up Gina Sicilia’s approach better than anything; while she is billed as a Blues Singer this album is pure S.O.U.L from start to finish and flits flawlessly between Philly, Detroit and Memphis with consummate ease.
Ten of the eleven tracks here; along with another ten were written back to back in December 2017 and there’s a thread that weaves from one to another; without this being any nod to the ‘concept album’ formula I despise so much.
Gina sings about LOVE in all it’s guises with those first two songs alongside the Gospel tinged I Do Bad Things and the low down and playful Sugar all being perfect for that last dance of the evening; or even later when the listener is all alone in a darkened bedroom.
On the other hand LOVE is also extolled in all its virtuosity on the glorious Light Me Up and the sassy reinterpretation of the Bad Company Rock classic, Ready For Love; which managed to make me do a soft shoe shuffle one afternoon as I made a cup of coffee!
Be under no illusions Gina Sicilia’s Blues Roots are here too with Man In The Sky being a real Juke Joint pot boiler and the razor sharp duet with Janiva Magness, Brighter Day sizzling on every note and word.
Then there is one song which captured my attention the first time I heard it, which happened to be the day after Aretha died; and still stands proud tonight…….Angels Watching. It’s no homage in the slightest the Queen of Soul; but sometimes a random song can convey your thoughts and feelings in a way you personally can never pull together; and that’s what this song now means to me.
It’s such a good song in it’s own rite that perhaps; I wish it won’t be associated with Aretha; but hey…..that’s not altogether a bad thing, is it?
There’s a lot here to like; not just the fluent way Ms Sicilia uses words and phrases to convey her feelings; but her velvety voice and the way the band behind it compliment it like pollen to a bee; make this a wonderful album and one we highly recommend.
Released August 31st 2018