The best vocal release for 2014...by a mile!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
I left out the umbrella term "jazz" for good reason. The Signal is the perfect storm of soul, funk, hip-hop all based around a jazz inflection that seals the deal on a marriage of genres and a groove that is relentless. The exponential growth of Elizabeth Shepherd has been and continues to be an amazing lyrical tour de force that is far from genre specific. Critical acclaim continues to pour in on a release that is as solid as anything coming out of the more traditional United States markets.
There is an organic originality of sophistication that is enticing yet never over powering. Analyzing individual tunes as "best" is virtually pointless as The Signal is that rare beast that covers a plethora of styles while never pushing some of the more pretentious buttons of overkill that some of Shepherd's contemporaries would seem destined to hang their harmonic hat on while uncovering no new melodic ground. Arrangements are solid, compositions are meticulously developed and the vocal presentation might best be thought of as Ricki Lee Jones meets Norah Jones on their way to a Joni Mitchell gig, it is simply that good.
Perhaps the most forward thinking contemporary vocal release over the last five years. Check it out at Amazon and iTunes and see what you think.
Tracks: Willow; What's Happening; B.T. Cotton; The Signal; Lion's Den; This; On Our Way; I Gave; Another Day; Baby Steps.