When life gives you lemons, some people make lemonade, and a few even make gold. That's the case with Kingston, ON blues/roots favorite Miss Emily, who has turned a couple of crappy years into some career highlights. With way too much time on her hands thanks to Covid keeping her off the road, she put together an archive concert album called "Live at the Isabel," which was nominated for a Juno for Blues Album of the Year this past March. At the same time she was dealing with a painful divorce, and that ended up informing a whole batch of new songs, as heard on this album.
So, a break-up album? No, more like a statement of resilience. Miss Emily has no problem wearing her heart on her sleeve and letting us in on her feelings and the fall-out of that personal turmoil. What we learn is how she coped, and what she learned. Her concept of being defined by love, as heard in the title cut, is that it's the love inside you that matters most. It's how you approach life, and what you offer to family and friends, not what love you take.
That fits perfectly with her strong and dynamic vocals and the upbeat soul blues on the album. Working with one of the country's foremost modern blues craftsmen, Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk, Colin James), the album is mostly filled with strong roots-rockers so catchy it's impossible not to feel inspired. The Gospel-infused "Glory" is uplifting and defiant: "Worlds around may fall, but I'll be up here soaring above the clouds, and holding on to glory." And as is so well-known now about her, four albums in, what incredible pipes! She has it all, emotion, control, power, and range, I'd love to see her on stage with Matt Andersen sometime if it hasn't happened yet.