Willa and Company
Willa Vincitore is the former Willa McCarthy. She was a background vocalist and member of The Chris O’Leary Band and appears all three of O’Leary’s studio albums including his Blues Music Award winning debut “Mr. Used To Be”. Her husband, Sean McCarthy, was O’Leary’s drummer but unfortunately Sean passed away in 2014. Willa has long been a fixture on the Hudson Valley blues scene as she also fronts her own band.
Willa is a dynamic vocalist who can sing blues, soul, rock or jazz. Her band includes co-producer Brandon Morrison, bass; co-producer Lee Falco, drums; Chris Vitarello (who also played with O’Leary), guitar; Scott Milici, keyboards; Jay Collins (who played with O’Leary’s mentor Levon Helm), sax and horn arrangements; and Reggie Pittman, trumpet and flugelhorn. Special guests include Petey Hop, acoustic guitar; and O’Leary, harmonica.
Willa is also a great songwriter and all of the songs were written by her. She opens with the lyric “I’m just a middle age woman wearing hand me downs…there is one thing always in style and that one thing I haven’t worn in awhile, your Love Looks Good On Me”.
Willa continues her “high” as she sings “you got me Hooked On You baby”; Collins is featured with a beautiful sax solo. The title track “Better Days” is a contemplative song about opening herself up to love again; Collins again solos nicely. Willa also gives us a different “take” on the same theme when she sings “Mama Needs Some Company” and on the jazzy and emotive “Opposite of Lonely”.
Willa and Company get funky on “Stop Drop and Roll” and on both “Crazy Man” and “Say What”. Vitarello’s guitar and O’Leary’s harp open “Hey Little Sister” and it’s one of my favorite tracks on this album of highlights. “Demons” shows the Delta side of Willa as she’s accompanied by just Vitarello on slide.
Willa won’t have time to be lonely as better days lie ahead for this immensely talented singer/songwriter.
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