Concert review

Miss Emily album launch – Oct. 5 at Revival, Toronto

“Take Miss Emily’s advice and don’t allow the world to lock you into a single description. Be defined by family, friends, and community. Be defined by love.” Manager Gord Hunter

Debuting her new record, Defined By Love, Ontario’s incendiary rising star, Maple Blues Award-winning soul goddess Miss Emily wowed up
Toronto’s Revival Club with a memorable show two Wednesdays ago. She arrived in town brassy and sassy and uplifted by a compact six-piece crew of Kingston’s musical elite, including The Hip’s Rob Baker and Gord Sinclair, a show that ignited the season opener of the Kingston Grand Theater in her home town just the previous weekend.

Wielding a large talent for soulful celebration, her rich song ledger densely packed with original tunes, and ready-to-shine in a leather skort with a be-jewelled thigh chain and sparkly top and heels, she hit the bandstand flaming with 25 years of custom-tailored talent and that uniquely Canadian charisma that is generated from a candidly personal comedic attitude backed up by real talk.

The audience, full of devoted fans and peer talents such as Raha Javanfar and Jadea Kelly, picked up on and reflected back her shine immediately as she cruised into an epic evening of song  supported by soulful organ, incisive sax and guitar solos, and a scattered sharing of personal
moments, thoughts and ironic memories and, calong the way, introducing an unreleased tune about opioid addiction.

“For all of you who are suffering from this problem; I didn’t include it on the record because I didn’t want it to be thought of as a Miss Emily song. I wanted you to think of it as your song,” she confided.

With her impressive stature, immense wingspan and an innate joie de vivre that never flagged over two sets, she maintained a masterful (why not mistressful?) rapport with the audience as she sifted through her career output of four records, including tunes from a 2020 live recording that recent pestilential events may have unfairly obscured.

The focus of the evening defaulted naturally to her freshly released collection of predominantly personal and original tunes, Defined By Love, produced by Steve Marriner, which she unfurled in its entirety.

She made time for a few creatively proprietary scoops from the repertoire of Radiohead (the elevating horn-propelled “Just”, a highlight of the album) and an oozing grind through Salt-N-Pepa’s “What A Man” as an encore.

Throughout the night, her voice delivered a range of spontaneously intimate emotional episodes and displayed the personal reservoirs of
commitment that are required to brave the limits of a powerful, and sometimes daunting life lived within music, with an aspirational spirit that is evidently, and continually, Defined By Love.

Miss Emily’s music and live schedule are available here.

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