Just as Elizabeth Shepherd is a person on the mend, so is the neighbourhood of Parkdale—which becomes the allegory for Shepherd’s growth and exploration. As an up-and-coming area of the city, it mirrors Shepherd’s artistic career. She has written the majority of her songs in this lieu and the lyrics show a fondness mixed with aversion that one can only feel for something one has grown to love. Parkdale, the area, becomes synonymous with the theme of regeneration—a renaissance, for all intents and purposes. The self-proclaimed artistic hub of Toronto, Shepherd engages the listener in a character study of her niche and neighbours.
‘Parkdale’ is Elizabeth Shepherd’s follow-up full-length album to her acclaimed debut, ‘Start to Move’. Her quintet consists of Shepherd on piano and vocal, Scott Kemp on bass, Colin Kingsmore on drums, Roman Tome on percussion and William Sperandei on trumpet. Produced by applauded British Indie-Jazz sensation Ben Lamdin of Nostalgia 77, Parkdale is an older, wiser Shepherd teamed with her ever youthful, graceful soul. The words speak of longing and despair. Underlying the pain of growth and turmoil it brings, is the of assurance of light at the other end and the promise of wisdom that only time and experience can impart. Shepherd speaks to her audience about her condition—candidly singing her heart on her sleeve.
The mood of ‘Parkdale’ tracks the emotional whirlwind of human experience. The album explores what everyone fears the most; total openness, divulging your innermost humanity. “Parkdale”, the title track, explores the nuances brokeness within the community. Leading the listener through her story. “I’ve always found strange the massive discrepancy between the highly emotional events that shape our personal lives, that we generally don’t share, and the completely mundane events that insidiously make their way into conversation.” “Sicilienne” featuring the renowned Toronto’s Jazz guitarist Reg Schwager, speaks directly to the related theme of longing. There is nothing more universal than the longing – most would reluctantly say they’re all too familiar with its shades. Unabashedly honest emotion, Shepherd’s lyrics resonate through their innocent frankness.