Whereas an undeniably soulful Stax groove stoked up her big 'n earthy 2007 debut Allow Me To Confess (reviewed here), Hey Sugar, Sicilia's huger, bluer 'n ballsier follow-up growls and prowls late night Bourbon Street and after hours juke joint Chicago like few contemporary blues mavens dare.
Deservedly, this twenty-four year old Philadelphian is fast becoming an artist to keep on active radar for two distinctive reasons: First and foremost, her voice. Passionate, compelling, commanding and individual to the point of not needing to reference influences or make morbidly cliché comparisons. The woman was meant to sing and we in turn are meant to listen. That second reason is her songwriting—What The Moon Could Never Do, Bad Years Comin' On, I Pray Most Everyday, Lowest Of The Low— broadly display her natural intuition for roots blues and how to pair it with her burgeoning, tapped and still untapped, talent. As for blues revelations, Sicilia's heart wrenching vocals on Jimmie Davis' Nobody's Darling But Mine and Dolly Parton's well worn Coat Of Many Colors is worth the price of admission alone.
As was her debut, Hey Sugar was produced with great authenticity by guitarist and Blues Music Award nominee Dave Gross, who once again has assembled a band primed for the challenge of supporting and spotlighting an artist on the rise. Particularly riveting work by David Maxwell—organ, piano, Dennis Gruenling—harmonica, and upright bassist Scot Hornick complete a work of sustained strength and resonance.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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