LIVE AT THE FREETIMES, TORONTO CANADA – March 15th, 2014
“I was familiar with Karyn Ellis’ recent release, More Than A Hero but it’s always so much better to watch an artist bring their recorded songs to life on-stage. Soft, delicate touches mixed with deft harmonies and bare bones instrumentation, her strong songs each stand on their own feet.
Supplementing the rich melodic qualities of her work, friend and fellow powerhouse singer, Sue Newberry, joined Ellis as each song permitted, adding spark to each well-written original’s fuel.
Beginning with one of Hero’s highlights, “Rust,” two complementary voices rose as one, entwining themselves around this elegant melody, accompanied by Ellis’ elementary 6-string acoustic guitar. With MM adding additional vocal support and Devin contributing guitar, “I’ll Do Anything” proved slightly reminiscent of Lisa Loeb, vocally, Ellis regularly injecting her warm approach to balladry with subtle pop touches.
Singing solo, her “Cosmic Cowboy” revealed a comparatively harder edge to her vocal approach, slightly overriding the song’s original vulnerability. Leading a singalong with “Be My Girl,” forced her to slightly exaggerate her parts in an effort to spur on the audience, costing this delicate original some of its intimate charm.
Yet, all was quickly redeemed with “River” – an earthy, hypnotic song from Hero which builds slowly, revealing the rich range of Ellis’ voice, its exuberant, catchy chorus transforming the song into something falling midway between southern gospel and an African tribal chant.
The combination of Ellis and Newberry added power to strong material yet it’s the more intimate readings that provide Ellis with her impressive bite.”