Joanna Chapman-Smith is a sassy singer-songwriter who writes about the contraries of Right/Wrong and Mind/Body with humour and sophistication. Inspired by William Blake's, "The Marriage of Heaven & Hell", Joanna's songs look at oppositions that exist within the human spirit. Appropriately, "Contraries" is the title of Chapman-Smith's second solo album (2009).
On the first track, "Urbanity", Joanna sings lovingly of the experience she has had as an artist growing up in two of Canada's big cities: first Toronto, then for the past six years in Vancouver. Now Joanna moves between the two, touring the country. Canadians all over relate to her cheeky lyrics from track two, "Where are you from? Or better yet... where are your parents from?"
Chapman-Smith's diverse ethnic background certainly shows its musical influence on this album. We hear melodies that twist and slide, as the music takes on a nostalgically Eastern European sound, hinting also at Latin & Blues. Chapman-Smith's arrangements have personality, and the vocal harmonies are particularly elegant. Joanna performs these arrangements with her band, "The Tryst": Dawn Zoe on accordion, Justine Fischer on bass and Wayne Adams on drums (all three sing). The group has a bohemian feel, featuring quirky moments when you can hear them having fun together. Make no mistake about it - this music is Folk.
"Contraries" is a beautiful and emotionally honest collection of work from a precocious Canadian artist. A gifted multi-instrumentalist with a stunning voice that would melt the hardest of hearts, Joanna Chapman-Smith is one to watch.