Singer and multi-instrumentalist Joanna Chapman-Smith, a Toronto native, recently returned to her hometown after living in Vancouver for a decade, which means we can now call her “Toronto’s Joanna Chapman-Smith.” And you’ll want to after hearing her third solo album, Love Me Deeply, an intimate grab bag of elements including folk, jazz, and blues, with lush string arrangements accompanying nearly all of its 11 songs.
Chapman-Smith plays several instruments on the album, including acoustic guitar and clarinet, but her most powerful tool is her voice. The dreamy opening song, “Paris,” demonstrates her beautiful sense of control over an instrument that has more muscle than she lets on. She hints at its expansive range on “Open Fire,” a tune that finds her gleefully comparing a returning love to her renewed vocal strength.
But more often, as on the jazzy “Thinking of You,” she keeps her singing on a low simmer, delicate yet deliberate. It’s an approach that suits her introspective, laid-bare approach to her music—you don’t put stickers on a Stradivarius.
Playlist picks “Thinking of You,” “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You?”
Joanna Chapman-Smith plays Hugh’s Room (2261 Dundas St. W.) on Jan. 12.