This young Calgary-based vocalist, Deanne Matley confirms a growing reputation. The voice itself is light and limpid, though not without metal, Miss Matley is a swing-driven vocalist who, here, often breathes the air of the wistful, the world-weary and the melancholy. She can also transform a vocal line into a fluid and melismatic aria. Her diction is exceptional; her articulation is pure, natural and sublime and she brings an enormously varied colour palette to this music. Best of all, she lets the songs speak to her in a very personal way and there is evidence of real imagination in the ones that she writes. But every song gets the same special personal attention from Miss Matley.
Several programmes by women vocalists have been centred on heartbreak, separation and divorce – and the music describes aching sorrows and pities, but this one by Miss Matley, with its own shade of heartbreak and loss is also one that doesn’t wallow in a mushy morass, but picks up and soars into beautifully imagined places, emphasising that somehow wonderful things can also arise from elemental pain. And she is utterly convincing in this regard – both in “The Moon Is of Gold” as well as in “Necessary Evil” where she shares the stage with the inimitable Ranee Lee.
Miss Matley gets right inside the music of Because I Loved – in that part of the repertoire that has been written by others as well as in her own compositions, characterizing the words and bringing the storyline of each vignette to lyrical life. She is also joined by a wonderful and empathetic group of musicians – especially pianist Paul Shrofel and guitarist Steve Raegele, but also saxophonist Al McLean, trumpeter Andy King and trombonist Jean-Nicolas Trottier as well as bassist Adrian Vedady, the mighty Jim Doxas on drums, and percussionist Kiko. The string quartet adds not only body to the music on which they appear, but in addition, an earthy and subtle dimension to voicing.
Experiencing this recording, the intensity, certainly draws one in to Miss Matley’s emotional vortex. If it’s hard to separate the work from the emotional circumstances in which it was produced, perhaps one shouldn’t even try. Instead giving oneself over completely to the emotional roller-coaster enables one to be joined in Miss Matley’s journey from sorrow to ultimate joy.
Track list – 1: The Moon Is Made of Gold; 2: Sugar; 3: The After Thought; 4: Catching Up To Do; 5: Not My Only One; 6: Open Arms; 7: My Favourite Distraction; 8: So Long You Fool; 9: Pieces; 10: Forget Me; 11: Necessary Evil; 12: The Wine We Drink
Personnel – Deanne Matley: vocals; Ranee Lee: guest vocalist; Paul Shrofel: piano and keyboards; Adrian Vedady: contrabass; Jim Doxas: drums; Steve Raegele: guitar; Kiko: percussion; Al McLean: saxophone; Andy King: trumpet; Jean-Nicolas Trottier: trombone; Kate Bevan-Baker: violin; Kate Maloney: violin; Jennifer Thiessen: viola; Thomas Beard: cello
Released – 2018
Label – Independent
Runtime – 42:24