Elizabeth Shepherd

Elizabeth Shepherd

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN

Elizabeth Shepherd's keyboard work is brilliant and her sultry, playful voice like nothing you've heard. But it's her songwriting that has caught the attention of fans and critics alike. Her ability to blend sassy pop, clever lyrics, jazz harmonies and dance grooves is what sets her apart.


Elizabeth Shepherd is among Canada's most promising young talents and she has the widespread critical acclaim to prove it. The rave reviews for her first two studio albums as well as sold-out performances at prestigious venues like Tokyo’s Cotton Club, London's Jazz Café and the Hollywood Bowl have been extremely gratifying for Shepherd, but the Toronto-based singer/songwriter/pianist has never been content to rest on past achievements. Shepherd’s debut Start To Move (2006) and follow-up Parkdale (2008) were both JUNO nominated (*Canada's Grammy equivalent) and described as “pushing the boundaries of jazz”. With the release of her stunning third album 'Heavy Falls the Night', she pushes well past those boundaries to carve out her own niche of smart, sophisticated and adventurous music. It charted # 34 in Japan on national radio station J-Wave following the release there, and has garnered considerable attention back home, in Canada. Most recently, she was included in the long-list for the 2010 Polaris Prize, and was nominated for a Galaxie Rising Star award.

'Heavy Falls the Night' takes the listener on an unpredictable musical ride. It's hard to pick a favourite track from such an eclectic album; it could be the dancefloor ready Seven Bucks, co-produced by Japanese mixmaster DJ Mitsu The Beats (Dwele, Jose James), and inspired by an NFB documentary. Or it could be The Taking - Shepherd’s powerful tribute to the women who came before her, or maybe the supremely soulful reworking of Anne Murray's 70s soft-rock radio staple 'Danny's Song', one of the few secular songs that made it past the gatekeepers in Shepherd's Salvation Army childhood home.

Elizabeth's rhythmically intricate, groove-oriented tunes, sincere lyrics and distinct, soulful voice have earned her a worldwide following. Critics, hipsters and music aficionados from London to Tokyo have been spreading the word for a few years now, and will surely continue to embrace her music. But more importantly, with 'Heavy Falls the Night', Elizabeth Shepherd is reaching music lovers everywhere.



Written By: Elizabeth Shepherd


i got a thing for numbers
'cause figures don't lie to me
now i've been doing some math, here
and from my records it's plain to see

you're coming up short on your giving
it seems you're thinking we're made of time
but i'm starting to see the sun set
and like numbers, the shadows don't lie

one - for tomorrow
two - for the now
three - for the lovers, who know not how

youth's been wasted on many
on a poet a sage or two
on the bright, the shackled the sorry
and maybe worst of all - on the youth

but knowin' just what i do, dear -
that the days here to grace us are few
while there's no lasting thing about our youth, still
i know that mine won't be wasted on you

one - for tomorrow
two - for the now
three - for the lovers, who know not how

Heavy Falls the Night

Written By: Elizabeth Shepherd

Heavy Falls the Night

let's nurse this sweet disclosure
before breaks the day
who blushing, past confessions
will neatly hide away

let's dance this moonlight silly
drunk endeavors on parade
to disguise the bitter knowing
of our pitiful charade

we'll pass these moments off
to the emptiness they hold
cloaked in wine-streaked efforts
stains within its folds

as long as night falls steady
my love
your touch be the way
your laughter the light
but only the night
needs no truth
my love
so fall heavy the night

if truth spills messy
dawn cracking through
we'll weep the daylight sober
in dreamers' lonely hues

as long as night falls steady
my love
your touch be the way
your laughter the light
but only the dark
need no truth
my love
so fall heavy the night

What Else?

Written By: Elizabeth Shepherd

what else

make me a carpenter tonight
and let me create

i'd fix the crack that's in your heart
leakin' love away

and use my calloused hands to carve
a boat for all that pain

so you could sail out from the dark
and float into the day

i'd hang a million wooden stars
all to guide your way

but as the sun's still burning bright
it's killin' me to wait

i can sing this song to you
i don't know what else i could give you

what else can i give you?

make me a hero of your mind
and give me all your weight

i'll slay the dragon in your heart
your sorrows i can shake

i wield my magic like a charm
to keep your days alight

and send a maiden through the skies
to warm your lonely night

while all i have are words alone
i offer anyway

so let this song be on your lips
to get you through the day

Seven Bucks

Written By: Elizabeth Shepherd

7 $

can't sugar coat the rain that's falling
he's looking for a bed
now seven bucks is all it's gonna take
and he's just a sale away

the outreach man has open hands
with more than dues to pay
he'll catch your eye while you be stealin' by
but you've got your bills to pay

oh such
fragile lives
that we have

all divides in
time do

Wednesday night he wears a smilin' charm
the new paper's on its way
but who will see this subtle change of face
when you're lost in day to day?

suits and ties can lend disguises
though the rain hits all the same
the bank could own your bed in 3 weeks time -
and it's just a cheque away


- Heavy Falls the Night (2010)
- Parkdale (2008)
- Besides - B Sides and Remixes (2007)
- Start To Move (2006)

Set List

1. Numbers
2. Danny's Song (cover)
3. Heavy Falls the Night
4. Seven Bucks
5. Insufficiency of Words
6. What Else?
7. The Taking
8. A Song for Dinah Washington
9. High

Sets: generally either 2 x 5 minutes or 1 x 90 minutes.