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Jana G. "Mixed Signals"

Thanks to Rick Calhoun for writing this review. Published March 07 2014.

  by Rick

"So what if I'm shy?" That's how Chicagoan Jana G. introduces herself on her Facebook page. After listening to her new EP, "Mixed Signals", released February 24, you get a sense of what she might mean. This is not an apology, folks, it's a double dog dare you challenge. Jana delivers that line with clinched fists on hips and narrowed eyes. Shy doesn't mean weak, feminine doesn't equal sissy. Jana G. is not going to let you see her cry.

"Mixed Signals" is a joyous, four track celebration of a strong woman dealing with love and life on her terms. She lists as her influences boyfriends and breakups. This reflects the subject matter here and also for her 2012 release "I Am Jana". But this is no needy, clinging girlfriend waiting by the phone. The driving, danceable beat throughout propels Mathew Giliberto's guitar and piano, which are sometimes crunchy, sometimes shimmering. Jana's vocal ascends on top of it all, assisted by Shana Petrone's well matched background vocals. One of the most pleasing things about this project is the growth of Jana's singing technique. She has a more rounded sound than "I Am Jana", more expressive and versatile. The whole production seems cleaner and less cluttered, without losing any of the energy and punch. This is likely due in part to the skillful touch of Timothy Flynn at AudioWall Studios working his digital magic.

While the music is in some ways the opposite of confessional singer-songwriter style, the introspection is here, just under the surface. That line about being shy is offered with good reason. Jana is not going to spill her guts on the table for the entire world to see. But her songwriting is too honest to leave out the important parts. Think of a coconut: hard shell, soft inside. Listen carefully to "Clouds" and you'll know what I mean.

“Mixed Signals” is enjoyable on several levels. If you just want some up tempo tunes to dance to, you will find them there. And if you’re after a multi-layered display of songwriting craftsmanship you won’t be disappointed.


Jana G.: iamjana.com
Mathew Giliberto: mathewagiliberto.com
Shan Petrone: shanapetrone.net
AudioWall Studios: audiowallstudios.com