Friday, December 3, 2010

Best Year Ever for Ottawa Music?

2010 may not be hands down the best year ever for music in Ottawa but it has to be in the conversation. In a variety of styles we have seen amazing live shows and recordings made this year by the residents of the Nation's Capital. All of these fine folks have graced CKCU for interviews and live performances. Over the next week or so we will highlight some of their outstanding releases. Feel free to add your comments and suggestions. And better yet pick some of these up as presents for yourself or friends.

Let's start with the debut release by vocalist,Renee Yoxon, "Let's Call It A Day". A Carleton grad with a degree in physics and minors in math and music. She has burst onto the Ottawa Jazz scene as THE singer to listen to. This collection of Jazz/Folk with guitarist Renee Gely mixes the Great American Songbook with jazz/pop classics and one original.

Many have done this before and some are untouchable. Most of them of course are ho-hum paint by numbers and are not worth repeat listening. "Let's Call It A Day" thankfully is one of those discs that stands up to serious listening time. Yoxon gets right into the songs and sings in the moment with a passion and joy that connects with the listener. The delicate and understated arrangements by Gely bring the power of the compositions forward. There is a respect to the lyricists that is appreciated. And there is always a sense of fun here that can't be missed. There was a time when the craft of songwriting was a full time job for people whose craft was impeccable. That is celebrated here but it is not a dusty shelved museum piece. It is alive with smoldering heat that is hinted at with the cover. Forget those horrible Rod Stewart homages to the songwriters of the past or those middle of the road strolls with Norah Jones. Instead I encourage you to find a wonderful escape here with a singer of terrific quality. Who knows where she will go next but I am sure we will be hearing from her for some time to come.

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