Sandy Graham, Cashbox Magazine
Ellen Doty is a soulful vocalist and songwriter from Calgary, Alberta with a world-class voice and a classic sound. Citing influences from legendary singers like Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald to modern artists like Michael Buble and Norah Jones, Doty’s music is an organic blend of traditional jazz and easy-listening pop. Doty has recently released her much-anticipated debut CD ‘Gold’. The album is currently in the top ten on several jazz charts in Canada including CFBX (Kamloops), and CFMU (Hamilton). The record features ten of Ellen's original compositions, as well as one song by Toronto songwriter Kyle Zavitz. Her co-writers include Oliver Miguel, Josh Crowhurst, Kyle Zavitz, Conrad Good, and Danny Michel.
Doty's six-song EP “That’s Love” was released to a sold-out crowd of four hundred eager fans in Calgary last May followed shortly after by a crowd-funded fifteen-city Western Canada tour. Following an exciting year that included performances in Los Angeles, an award for outstanding soloist at the 2013 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, a Banff Centre Artist Residency, and countless rave press reviews, Doty was awarded a grant by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for her debut album that she has co-produced along with LA engineer Steve Dierkens and well-known sax player Oliver Miguel.
Originally from Okotoks, Alberta, Doty has been a performer since the age of five. In her early years she sang at the church choir and competed in the Youth Talent Showdown at the Calgary Stampede. She went on to study vocal jazz at Carleton University in Ottawa, ultimately performing in their prestigious Talent Showcase. She also sang at the Canadian University Music Society Congress in the summer of 2009. She now lives in Calgary and performs weekly at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel and also guest performs with Calgary’s Primetime Big Band. She’s had the opportunity to work with many of her jazz heroes thus far including Al Kay, Pat Labarbera, Bobby Shew, Dave Mancini and PJ Perry. Doty released her first EP in August of 2012. The EP displays a more traditional jazz sensibility and features the playing of Adam Cormier on drums (Hey Ocean), co-writer / guitarist Josh Crowhurst, Kodi Hutchinson (Chronograph Records) on bass, Derek Stoll on piano, Pat Belliveau on sax, Carsten Rubeling on trombone, and trumpeter Jim Murray. This led her to New York in September of 2012 where she was invited to study with Robert White of Juilliard and perform with legendary drummer Dave Mancini. The disc was well received by all and her original composition “Love You First” was played heavily on many independent radio stations including CBC Radio and Alberta's own CKUA. She was also selected as a top twenty finalist for the show Canada’s Got Talent out of four thousand submissions in the spring of 2012.
Her first single and title track for her EP 'That's Love' was released on April 10th, 2013 followed shortly after by an official video filmed at Calgary's own Fairmont Palliser Hotel. The full 7-song EP was released to a sell-out crowd of 400 adoring fans at The Plaza Theatre in Kensington on May 11th, 2013 to rave reviews from fans and media alike. The songs on her EP, recorded at The Station in Calgary, range from intimate, jazz-infused ballads (Come Closer) to driving Latin-pop (Why Can't You Be My Man?). The EP spent several weeks at No.1 on the CJSW Jazz Chart and reached No.3 on the Top 50 chart. Doty recently completed her first tour of Western Canada (15 cities) sponsored by Alberta Music, Derks Formal Wear, Fairmont Hotels, Zoom Media, McCallum Printing, and designer Sydney Evans. Her touring band featured an all-star cast of young Canadian musicians including Adam Cormier on drums (Hey Ocean!), Dan Reynolds on piano, Conrad Good on upright bass, and co-writer Josh Crowhurst on guitar with special guest Oliver Miguel on the saxophone. They kicked off the tour with a sell-out show at the Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver on July 18th and finished off the tour in Calgary with another full house at the Ironwood Stage on August 11th, 2013. Doty was recently awarded a video grant from Public Records and Telus to produce a video for her track “No Good Man” from her debut album “Gold”. The video was produced by Collide Entertainment (Vancouver) and released in late June 2014. The "Gold" album launch took place in Calgary with two sold-out shows at the historic Ironwood Stage on May 29th and 30th, 2014.
“This album truly reflects who I am as an artist. Not only is it organic blend of pop and jazz, but it gives you a window into my very deepest thoughts and feelings. I couldn’t be more excited to share it with the world! It’s my gold.”
The opening track ‘Diamond From Cole’ sounds like Big Band and Broadway all wrapped into one, then leads you into ‘Perfect Day’ that has a vocal that is smooth as silk, and soothes the soul, convincing you it’s all good, no matter what goes on, it’s going to be okay.
‘Restless Heart’ makes you yearn for the feeling of deep love when you first fell, and certainly shows off the strong vocals of this talented singer. ‘No Good Man’ is bluesy and bold, with the feeling of watching a torch singer in a smoky cocktail bar, once again with vocals that charm you. ‘Wait For Your Call’ is reminiscent of early Bonnie Raitt and the mournful delivery encompasses you.
‘I Think I’m in Love’ is a jazzy little number, sensuous and full of romance, Ellen Doty knows how to bring it home, while ‘Tonight’ features beautiful piano riffs that compliment this woman’s vocals perfectly.
‘Say You Will’ sends a little samba our way, while ‘I Fall For You Again’ takes you right back into wanting to fall in love again, whether it is a past love or wanting to rekindle the current person in your life.
The title track ‘Gold’ is a little bit Natalie Cole and a little bit Whitney, really showing off the power of this singer’s reach.
The last track ‘Lullaby’ is classic and so well produced, it is a lovely way to end a lovely CD, with a voice that lulls you and makes you feel peaceful and wistful at the same time.
Timeless vocals, torch songs and a charisma to boot, this is a beautiful CD in all aspects. Production, song content, musicians and vocal performance – a 20 out of 10. A must for your collection.