HGR CD Review: Nina Scarcia

NINA SCARCIA – WASH AWAY (EBS Records) Harrisburg’s Nina Scarcia has been playing and creating music since the age of 6, and she likes shoes. And as her debut CD, Wash Away, clearly proves, she can write songs and sing. The nine-song disc reveals her musical world to be a tasty fusion of folk, blues, jazz, country and pop. With a smooth, soulful voice and cadence, Scarcia’s presentation brings to mind the pop blues flavor of Bonnie Raitt mixing with the sultriness of Norah Jones. Wash Away displays a variety of flavors; “Old Highway” opens the disc with a rural blues vibe, with Nina singing about the need to escape and find herself. “Rollin’ On” shows a bayou swamp funk flavor, and the delta also rings through on the dues-paying ode “Gone” and the gentle “Next Sunday.” The folksy title track “Wash Away” is about rinsing off worries and troubles and moving forward, while Scarcia resolves to be independent on the boisterous blues-funk of “Wrong Kind of Man.” Scarcia offers a country edge on “Real Love” and the disc-ending pastoral ballad “Rise Up,” and dabbles in Latin-flavored jazz on “Leave It Alone.” Scarcia’s voice and personality stand front and center on every song and nicely tie the disc together into a unified set. Her variety of backing musicians tastefully color and shape the mood of each song, and the song arrangements are tight and efficient. The mix is clean, clear and polished, allowing the full scope of Scarcia’s talents to shine through. Wash Away convincingly announces Nina Scarcia’s arrival as a singer and songwriter, and displays her as a shining talent to be reckoned with. (The CD can be obtained from Nina’s website, www.ninascarcia.com.)