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Gina Villalobos - Can't Find My Way Home

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 8 / 11 / 2008

Gina Villalobos - Can't Find My Way Home
Label: Face West Records
Format: CDS


Superb cover on new download only single from honeyed-voiced Californian musician Gina Villalobos, who takes Steve Winwood's classic song and makes it her own

Although Californian Gina Villalobos has impressed many with her albums, ‘Miles Away’ from 2006 and the previous year's ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Pony’ it was with some trepidation that I approached this song which is available as a download only from 1st December. The reason is purely a personal one. Cover versions of songs that made an impression on us during our formative years are never an appealing thing. To give Gina her due the covers I’ve heard her tackle before, the Gibb brothers penned ‘If I Can’t Have You’ which Yvonne Elliman took into the charts over 30 years ago, and the World Party song, ‘Put The Message In The Box’ were both inspired and worthy versions, but the songs never meant that much to me in the first place. They weren’t plucked from the special shelf, so I am quite prepared to have an open mind when another artist decides to try to make those songs their own. But when an artist, especially when it is one who is so talented that she deserves a place up there alongside Lucinda Williams in the best female alt country / Americana lists, decides to cover a song that was written and performed by a childhood hero, well it’s a little worrying. I grew up to the sounds of a very young Steve Winwood creeping under my big sister’s bedroom door. Her Spencer Davis Group 45s, EPs and albums were given pride of place in that forbidden zone called her bedroom, but there were many times when I’d sneak in just to gaze in wonder at the EP and album covers and, if I was feeling particularly brave, to put the vinyl on her old Dansette and marvel at the passion and emotion in 16 year-old Winwood’s voice. The fact that he played guitar and keyboards as well as having that voice was just too much to comprehend. So I became a fan and when Winwood left Spencer Davis to form Traffic well, it was the best thing he could have done to my young mind anyway. Until he started making some, let’s be honest, less than brilliant solo albums, Winwood was not only the best British singer we had but also a brilliant musician and songwriter. Thankfully with this year's ‘Nine Lives’ he is back on top again. ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ is a song Winwood wrote and performed with the short-lived ‘supergroup’ Blind Faith ( Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Rick Grech) and is one of the best songs that group ever put down on tape. Gina heard Winwood sing the song at the Hollywood Bowl where he was backed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. In Gina’s own words as she was on her way to get a drink when Winwood’s voice singing ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ “swept me away to another place, even though I stood frozen in the isle, listening for the rest of the song”. Yep, know that feeling Gina. As we all do. And now it’s happened again. Steve Winwood’s vocals may well have stopped Gina in her footsteps that night and now this acoustic, string drenched version of a song that I never thought could be bettered is being sung in what I can only describe as a voice that sounds like it has been soaked in whiskey and then marinated in thick honey for weeks on end, has taken my breath away. It’s a cliché that is used all too often when an artist covers a song; that they make it their own. With her version of one of Winwood’s greatest ever songs Gina has truly done that and I never thought I’d see the day when I have to admit that given the choice I’d chose a Winwood cover over the original, especially given how certain Winwood songs have been treated in recent years. This download will not be included on Gina’s forthcoming album which is set for release in 2009 so don’t wait for that to hear the most beautiful cover version of a song you’ll likely to hear…ever.

Track Listing:-
1 Can't Find My Way Home

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Interview (2005)
Gina Villalobos - Interview
Gina Villalobos' album 'Rock and Roll Pony' has earned her folk artist status, but also has roots in country and rock. She talks to Sarah Johnson about the accident which damaged and nearly lost her her sight, depression and her plans for her next record

digital downloads


Miles Away (2006)
Outstanding and harmonic second album from highly-acclaimed singer-songwriter and Americana artist, Gina Villalobos
Rock 'n' Roll Pony (2005)

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