Guest Reviewer: Brad Wheeler, music writer for the Globe and Mail

Miss Emily Live at the Isabel Independent

Suddenly Miss Emily (Kingston’s Emily Fennell) is a veteran on the scene. When did that happen? She has sung her heart out, loud, for years, and yet she has snuck up on us.
Perhaps her potent new album, recorded at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in her Kingston hometown, will turn some heads. The record more or less demands it. Miss Emily even wrote a letter. Does Canada’s public broadcaster take requests?
“Dear CBC, won’t you please, play my music on your stations 2 and 3,” she pleads on Dear CBC, one of the three previously unreleased originals of hers on the album. On the song, “rotation” is rhymed with “frustration.” She announces that her bar-band days of singing Creedence are behind her. But don’t take her word for it – just listen to the record.
On it she reveals her enthusiasm for spry vintage soul-rock of the Solomon Burke kind, with Cry to Me. She has a knack for turning an iconic song (the Tragically Hip’s Long Time Running) into something all her own. She’s got a voice on her: Big velvet thunder.
Gospel influences are apparent. Pianos and horns happen.. Members of the Tragically Hip guest. Fans of Kelly Hunt will find a lot to like here.
The convincing ballad Three Words would make Adele and Etta James cry. Miss Emily doesn’t spell out what the three words are. She doesn’t have to. She shouldn’t have to.