Gina Sicilia may be the best blues singer on the music scene today and she still is only 22 years old. Her CD Allow Me To Confess demonstrates maturity that belie her years, passion that usually only comes from years of heartbreak, epic moments and wonderful love filled moments. She is the female counterpart to Jonny Lang who while still in his teens blew audiences away with his gritty vocals.
The album Allow Me To Confess has eight original compositions and three covers, comprising the eleven total tracks. The song "Try Me," whose author is listed as unknown, serves up reminders of Female Blues Vocalist of the Year Janiva Magness. Magness’ passion and sandpaper vocals come naturally to her from life experience, we have yet to discover what fuels Sicilia’s passionate vocals.
Although she was originally reluctant to include the Etta James tune "Pushover" for fear it was out of step with the other tunes on the CD, the R&B song is sure to be a hit if released as a single. "Pushover" is a departure from blues and represents an era where the genre lines between Doo-Wop and early R&B were difficult to distinguish. Sicilia’s rendition substitutes saxophone for the opening few bars whereas on James' version the opening notes were carried by the organ. The saucy lyrics are well suited for Sicilia’s vocals and the teasing sax voice compliment her well. "Pushover" will capture the imagination of every woman who feels her guy has taken her love for granted. Nicole Hart, Deborah Gross, Lance Ong and Dave Gross provide quality background vocals.
Sicilia’s vocal performance on "I Ain’t Crazy," a song that she authored, is sultry and sizzling. On this song, she demonstrates both sides of passion as she growls and purrs. Sicilia’s singing redefines the meaning of torch song! Sax men Rob Chaseman (baritone) and Karel Ruzika Jr. (tenor/alto) are spectacular. The title track "Allow Me To Confess" again is startling simply because it is difficult to believe that a woman so young can get so much depth, passion and soul behind her voice.
Other highlights to watch for include "There Lies A Better Day," another original tune that would lead one to believe that Sicilia grew up in New Orleans rather than Philadelphia. Award winning blues harmonica player Dennis Gruenling who early in his career honed his craft in New Orleans creates authenticity and his playing is something to be treasured.
Blues guitarist Dave Gross produced the CD and played guitar. Other notable performances include Matt Stewart (trumpet), drummer Mike Bram, Lance Ong on the piano and organ keys, Arthur Nielson (lead guitar/mandolin) and Mazz Swift (violin). Stewart has a particularly noteworthy performance on the eighth track, "You Set My Heart On Fire." V.D. King guests on "Allow Me To Confess," playing rhythm guitar.
Gina Sicilia’s debut effort "Allow Me To Confess," provides clear proof that she has the talent to eventually reign at the top of the blues charts. The trick will be to convince those radio stations outside of the blues format to give her the airplay she so obviously deserves.