With The Signal, pianist and singer/songwriter Elizabeth Shepherd creates contemporary jazz that is high on both rhythmic sensibilities and lyrical content.
She has a knack of making odd-time signatures groovy, toe tapping and head bopping (i.e. the 7/4 application of the opening tunes “Willow” and “What’s Happening”) while singing about deep topics ranging from motherhood (Baby Steps), faith (“Lion’s Den”; “I Gave”) and big business (“B.T. Cotton”).
A real strength that Shepherd has over other jazz vocalists that I have heard is that she is a unique storyteller with something creative to offer and give on the music scene in Canada and beyond. She takes the experiences that she draws from her many travels and encounters and envelopes them into a style that is uniquely her own.
Upon listening to “The Signal,” her fifth recording, Shepherd has matured into a real 21st century jazz singer/songwriter who really has a lot going for her in life and in music. The grooves are tighter, the lyrics are thought-provoking, and the musical support from her musicians ranging from steel pan, trumpet, standard upright bass, sampling, percussion and backing vocals are top notch. Shepherd is an artist who has a fine ability to create grooves and pieces that make you want to dance while at the same time the lyrics make you want to think and question the world around you.
Another strong effort from a chanteuse who keeps challenging and striving for new and creative heights.