Lisa Brigantino

Wonder Wheel

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Lisa Brigantino is a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, producer, and cabaret performer. She also composes music for films, theater, and TV and radio commercials and runs a music licensing company. She's a regular performer in New York venues, also touring with Lez Zeppelin, an all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band, and as a duo with her sister Nickie in the over the top cabaret act the Vickie and Nickie Show. With that many irons in the fire, it's easy to see why it's taken Brigantino almost nine years to record her second album. Happily, the set is worth the wait, a strong 13-tune collection that shows off Brigantino's wide range of interest. Rock, blues, folk, ragtime, Tex-Mex, and country impulses collide, but it's all held together by Brigantino's expressive vocals, her expert playing, and the support of husband and co-producer Tomi Millioto, who adds massive electric guitar chops and drum programming that make the harder tracks kick serious behind. There isn't a weak track here, and several would merit serious airplay, if commercial radio weren't such a wasteland in the 21st century. "Go and Find It" kicks things off with a heavy metal take on Celtic folk driven by Brigantino's impassioned vocal and Millioto's wailing guitar. "A Little Sympathy" is a snappy bit of New York pop/rock with Brigantino sailing over a propulsive background of chattering guitar and a killer drum track. Tex-Mex meets early-'60s faux Latin rock on "Motel Room in the Dangerous Part of Town," a look at the dangers a musician finds on the road delivered with dark, albeit tongue-in-cheek humor. The ragtime-flavored "I Gotta Find Me Somethin'" features Brigantino's ukulele and sparkling vocal harmonies from Susan Heafner and Lisa's sister Lori, who also lays down an impressive faux trombone solo. Brigantino shines even brighter on the acoustic side. "Used to Be a House," a portrait of a homeless woman, benefits from her sparse chiming guitar and anguished vocals. Brigantino plays mandolin and guitar on the country ballad "Departure" and tugs the heartstrings on the nostalgic "Those Days." The understated torch song "I'll See You in My Dreams" closes the album on a romantic note with Brigantino playing subtle chords on the piano to complement her restrained vocal.

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