Album of the Week – ‘The Signal’ By Elizabeth Shepherd
‘The Signal’ By Elizabeth Shepherd is Eastside Radio’s Album of the Week.
The album explores multiple topics both lyrically and artistically as Shepherd drew from various outlets for inspiration. She has discussed the compositional and creative process unique to this album in that it was conceived during the latter half of her recent pregnancy (if you will excuse the pun). Overall it’s manifesto surrounds her fears for her daughter’s future regarding societies current (an most likely future) obsession with online networking and it’s domination over so much of our lives. At it’s crux, she see’s the worst consequence of this being that we have lost a sense of our fundamental humanity. “‘The Signal’ is sort of this idea that… I worry that, maybe in becoming so virtually entwined all the time and maybe by becoming proxy all the time, that we are losing human in the process.”
Continuing the motherhood theme, ‘Lion’s Den’ is a piece that served as a reaction to a news story she’d read regarding a 12-year-old girl in Ethiopia. Following being pursued by multiple men aiming to beat and torture her into submission and marriage, two African Tigers emerge and protect the child, a theory of which being that her cries in desperation following institutional ignorance towards her cause, mimicked the cries of a young cub’s cries, sending the lionesses into action. To this, Shepherd saw in the article a particularly challenging lyrical test, “It’s kind of horrific, but it’s also kind of beautiful at the same time, you know… beasts come in all different forms and that help also comes in all different ways and in various forms, and it was quite a challenge to try to get that into a song, both sort of the horror of rape and the beauty….”.
Aside from its powerful lyrical content, Shepherd’s fourth album is an inspirational body of work, showcasing the future of jazz globally. Although sampling, synthesisers and duets are not new concepts to the genre, or any other for that matter, it is Shepherd’s contemporary take on these elements amalgamated with respect to the traditions of the Jazz, that the artist is able to find a happy medium without sacrificing intrigue, momentum and originality. Following trips touring her work in Europe, the Montreal-based artist says that her hometown, alongside an overwhelming majority of the globe seems to lack diversity in their understanding of Jazz and music in general. She envisions her music as a vehicle to help open up new dialogue surrounding the issue, and with a CV including working alongside the legendary likes of Stevie Wonder, Salvation Army brass bands and classical sonatas, it is likely that she might just do that!
This; On Our Way
Elizabeth Shepherd: vocals, Fender Rhodes, kalimba, sampling, piano, modified piano, MOOG; tuned bottles
Scott Kemp: bass (2 ,3, 6-8), vocals (3, 6, 7, 8 )
Colin Kingsmore: drums (2-5, 9)
Larnell Lewis: drums, vocals (6, 7, 9)
Lionel Loueke: guitar, vocals (1, 6, 9)
Ross MacIntyre: bass (1, 4, 5, 9, 10)
John Maclean: clapping, flute, ngoni (1, 8, 10)
Mark Mosca: steel pans (3)
Alex Samaras: vocals (4)
Yvette Tollar: vocals (9)
Roman Tome: acoustic roar machine (5), drums (1, 10)
Kevin Turcotte: trumpet (5, 10)
Joshua Van Tassel: drums (8)
Linus Entertainment/True North Records | www.truenorthrecords.com
You can follow Elizabeth Shepherd’s career via her FACEBOOK page or at http://elizabethshepherd.com
Be sure to tune in this week to 89.7FM EASTSIDE RADIO for your chance to WIN a copy of ‘The Signal’ by Elizabeth Shepherd.
You must be a supporter to win so make sure to sign up at http://eastsidefm.org/support-us-2/. Don’t forget you can also stream the station at WWW.EASTSIDEFM.ORG.