Lisa Gentile,
(Padre, 2000)

Lisa Gentile has a strong voice, which she showcases masterfully with original, well-written songs. She has the kind of presence that would fit right into a "Women & Songs" collection -- strong vocals, quirky songs and just enough righteous anger to appeal to the "so there!" in all of us. Her songs are a kind of power folk, catchy but simple, always making a point about love, about life, about living.

"My Only Road to Rome" is quite simply a beautiful song. With lyrics like "stuck in my own head, raising up the dead" and "you were my home away from home, my only road to Rome," Gentile shows her knack for well-placed words and phrases. She is one of those artists who is writing songs that say exactly what we would say, if only we all were poets and troubadours.

Her country side takes control on "Tell Him How You Like It," a Shania-esque anthem to female power. Heavily country-influenced tunes like this one fit in with the more pop-sounding tracks on the record, like "Crack Me Open" and "As the Crow Flies." "Guys Like You" has an R&B flavour -- Gentile sounds a little bit like Amanda Marshall in this one. She shifts effortlessly between styles, making Becoming well-rounded and easy to listen to.

"Ain't it Always Something" is a testament to that relationship in which there is something in the way of leaving well enough alone, something in the way of just leaving each other. Gentile is insightful in her lyrics, giving the impression that she has lived through many of the scenarios she describes. She continues that story in "I'm Over You," where she tells that significant (or insignificant) other that she is making the decisions and has decided to end the relationship. Her themes seem to alternate between confidence and uncertainty, strength and dependence -- and she pulls it all off.

Gentile's way with words is considerable; but it is more prominent in some songs than in others. By the end of the record, the only track that really stands out for me is "Rome." That said, it left me with a positive feeling; it is a good first record -- it shows off her considerable songwriting talents and makes me look forward to hearing the songs she still has inside her.

[ by Rachel Jagt ]
Rambles: 23 February 2002