Lisa Moscatiello has chosen or written 12 good songs that work well with her voice on Second Avenue. She has an expressive, full-bodied voice that stands front and center on these recordings. After noticing her voice, the listener will also notice the sheer range of material, from Jesse Winchester's "Biloxi" to Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart's "Love Is a Stranger." "Fugitive," written by Moscatiello and Ben Stanton, is a clever analysis of the type of character who doesn't mind committing random acts of violence to gain attention. "Second Avenue" is a catchy song about memory with the reassuring line, "Oh, love is an affliction/Love is a disease." "Sleepin' Late" and "Cards on the Table" have a nice, late-night jazz feel, with a quiet piano that softly caresses Moscatiello's vocals. Two of the more intriguing choices would have to be Abbey Lincoln's "Throw It Away," featuring accordion and Latin percussion, and "Love Is a Stranger," a song of obsession and desire. One of the fun things about hearing radically rearranged songs is that the listener gets a fresh take on an old favorite. Moscatiello has written five of the 12 songs on this album, and her material merges well with the songs she has chosen. Of course, the unifying element is her voice, but she has chosen or written songs with thoughtful lyrics. The arrangements, whether using cello, piano, or bouzouki, tastefully support each song. Second Avenue is a satisfying release, sure to please Moscatiello's fans as well as lovers of beautifully sung folk.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.