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More By Elizabeth Shepherd

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Elizabeth Shepherd ( http://www.elizabethshepherd.com )

The Signal
Linus Entertainment ( http://linusentertainment.com/ @linus_ent )
Elizabeth Shepherd’s fourth album The Signal is a testament of ingenuity, progression and womanly strength wrapped in layers of jazz, pop and hipster groove.
 
Shepherd employs her ability to underpin smart lyrics with the construction of a soundscape that includes infectious urban beats, the slinky grooves of an electric Rhodes, samples of Lead Belly and Mother Theresa, a spacious synthesizer, steel pan, the trumpet of Kevin Turcotte and the star power of another forward thinking artist Lionel Loueke. 
 
Her breathy voice, which sounds like it’s made for singing gently swinging lullabies, is a juxtaposition to the subject matter of the songs on the album. It draws you in and leads you through issues of abuse and child marriages (“Lion’s Den”), enforced monopolization of agriculture and the devastating results on the cotton farmers in India  (“B.T. Cotton”), a tribute to the mother of Trayvon Martin (“Another Day”), as well as the complexities of love and expectations of motherhood.  Difficult things to address, but all are done with compassion and an unwavering eye to the future.
 
It’s hard to isolate one song as the go to for listening; they flow into each other and build to dramatic peaks, release and build again.  They all deserve your attention.  It’s best to sit down and do it the old fashioned way – listen to the whole album.
 
The notable opener “Willow” features Lionel Loueke who infuses the song with West African nuances.  “Lion’s Den” sweeps you up on an ambient wave then delivers you to a dramatic Kevin Turcotte trumpet-buzzing peak,  “On Our Way”, and “Baby Steps” all hold the pain and joy and instincts of motherhood.
 
This album is the bold and highly creative voice of an artist who really cares about how her art represents societal views and herself as a woman.
 
You can’t say that Elizabeth Shepherd creates outside the box.  If The Signal is any indication, for Elizabeth Shepherd there is no box.

By Shelley Gummeson
Oct 3, 2014

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