Gigi Love is a folk pop singer/songwriter with Utah ties. As a college girl at Southern Utah University in Cedar City in the late 1990s, Love was discovered and signed to Yellow Moon Records. She’s since produced five albums, with her latest, “Sweet Relief,” arriving in August.
The album features 11 songs, 10 by Love, and an able-handed cover of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush.”
Love is joined by her band The Mystics, Peter Nicholson on six-string bass and backup vocals, and Jeff Gutierrez on tenor sax. Additional musicians include Doug Stillwell on guitars, Neal Daniels on drums, Rachel Kattlove on backup vocals, Jerome James on percussion , John Tsukano on ukulele, Pierre Grill on keys, Otis Baker on harmonica, and Tyler Castleton on piano.
The collective of musicians lets Love range wide genre-wise.
Love has a crystalline soprano that serves her heartfelt material well. She can make a love song very sweet, as she does with the western-flavored “Quench Your Thirst,” but also waxes eloquently about the environment on the song “Black Tar Beaches.” The latter tune was inspired by the Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill.
Love has a Westerner’s love of the land, and those big landscapes appear in several songs, including “Coyote Bones,” about a life-changing hike she took into a Southern Utah canyon, and also in “Jessie’s Song,” a truly poignant offering for a lost friend: “We’re fascinated with the tragedy/ Everybody wants a little glimpse into the mystery/ And all those things that we’re so scared to see/ But want so badly to believe/ Like angels coming down from up above/ And this emptiness all full of love/ Chaos twists and the shadows fall/ We stand amazed, we stare in awe, as we send our children off to war.”
The album closure, “Cool by Me” is a good choice for the album and the artist — with a sparkly sound and a positive, but far from idealistic, outlook. the narrator seems to be hoping for lovely, loving days ahead. Tsukano’s ukulele, especially, gives this tune a little-grass-shack shimmer and shine.
Love is a solid songwriter with an expressive and beautiful voice. Here’s hoping this album will be the one to launch her career into a wider landscape of fans.