Love Me Madly
Blue Elan Records
The Philadelphia born Gina Sicilia released her debut recording “Allow Me To Confess” in 2007. That well received album earned her a Blues Music Award nomination as “Best New Artist”. Three more studio albums followed before Sicilia relocated to Nashville, a songwriter’s city. Newly inspired she signed with Blue Elan Records and released a five-song EP “Sunset Avenue”. Those five songs became part of her first full length recording for Blue Elan 2017’s “Tug of War”. In 2018 she released the highly acclaimed “Heard The Lie” produced by the Grammy nominated Dave Darling and featuring a duet with label-mate Janiva Magness.
“Love Me Madly” is Sicilia’s ninth recording overall and third for the Blue Elan imprint. She began writing songs for this new album immediately after the release of her last one and made frequent trips to Producer Cody Dickinson’s home studio, “The Checkerboard Lounge”, in Southaven, Mississippi where they would continue to write and develop her songs. “I’m so passionate about the process of making an album and being in the studio. It’s my absolute favorite thing to do. I wanted something a little grittier and not too sweet, I wanted to record a soul album.” Dickinson adds “Gina is incredibly prolific and talented, it is all I can do to keep up with the music and chord progressions”.
“Cody played about all the instruments on the album” including rhythm guitar, bass, keys, drums, Synth and electric washboard. His brother Luther played guitar on three songs. The other musicians include the Reverend Charles Hodges, organ; the horn section of Marc Franklin, trumpet, horn and string arrangements; Arthur Edmaiston, tenor saxophone; and Kirk Smothers, baritone saxophone. There is also a four-piece string section, and background vocalist Sharisse Norman.
The eleven original songs are passionate and heart-rending soul. Gina opens up that she wants to love and be loved “Like The World Has Never Seen”. The Stax-flavored stirrer “Hey Love” features the entire ensemble and just might be the sexiest song of the year. “Misery With You” contains the lyric “If I Had to choose between happy solitude and misery with you, baby if you want the truth, I’d choose misery with you”; Luther is featured on slide guitar. Luther plays again on both “For A Little While” and “How My Dreams They Go.”
Sicilia is sultry as she sings “Give It Up”. She is into a pop vibe on the Lesley Gore styled “Lose My Head”. Another Stax-influenced tune “Fall in Love” and the soulful title track are wonderful. “On Answer The Phone” Sicilia sings “I was hoping you would be at home…wanted to tell you about how I’ve been”.
Dickinson states “Gina is an incredible singer and a phenomenal songwriter…our Visions matched wonderfully. Philly soul meets Memphis soul with some country blues for good measure. While writing, the pop music was unexpected and totally organic. We went where the music led us.” This well-produced album is Sicilia’s best.