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Elizabeth Shepherd

Heavy Falls the Night

(Do Right Music)

Critics may bicker about whether her style is jazz or pop, but Canadian songstress Elizabeth Shepherd’s originality as an artist is clearly what wins the day.

Nothing shows her unique style better than her latest project Heavy Falls the Night. From the get-go, her originality bursts forth with the melancholic tones of title track and the opening cut What Else.

The tune resonates with a percussive richness, and provides the perfect lead-in to the smoky blues-tinged The Taking.

Shepherd’s vocally light touch is especially attractive as the song unfolds, but there’s little doubt she’s be a knock-out in pretty much any genre.

Shepherd’s debut Start to Move was released in 2006, and she’s been pretty much on the move ever since. Parkdale was released in 2008, and it should be noted both CDs landed Juno nominations.

Her maturing as an artist brought her to a new juncture with the new disc. With Heavy Falls the Night she opted to produce the songs herself, and the results are unquestionably her strongest to date, taking listeners on what has been described as a “dynamic musical ride.” Her artistry can’t help but fuel a nagging curiosity about where she’ll head next on her creative journey.

Rating: 4.5 out of five

-Mark Weber

Donna Greenberg

Mav’rik

(Independent)

Toronto based singer/songwriter brings an air of the international to her music, as is clearly seen on her latest CD Mav’rik.

Although it doesn’t always work in her favour, the diversity is striking from the Latin-flavour of the disc’s opening The Language of Love and La Nina de Rosa to the old-time 1940s feel of You’re My Summer Peach. The song is a charmer from start to finish and really seems to suit Greenberg’s clear expressive voice perfectly.

Old Country Road, which sounds like it’s right off an old Patsy Cline record, surprisingly suits her quite while.

But things get a little off track with Nature’s Glory which couldn’t be more different than the first couple of tracks with its treacly, feathery light sensibilities.

It’s not surprising that A Tribute To Gershwin, Porter and Rodgers was Greenberg’s first foray into jazz.

It was a one-woman show for which she sang, danced and wrote.

These days, jazz is indeed a mainstay of her performances and that, along with the old-style tunes is where she seems most at home.

Versatility is a good thing, but sometimes covering too many bases is just too distracting to make for a seamless, enjoyable listening experience.

Rating: 4 out of 5

-Mark Weber

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