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Aynsley Saxe

Posted by Terry Sweeney on 2013/09/23

Youthful, inspiring and homegrown. That seems like a very solid introduction to one of the newest talents to emerge in a big way on the Southern Ontario musical landscape, Aynsley Saxe. Her story unfolded this past Spring at her widely attended and highly successful CD release party for Take Me As I Am at one of Toronto's iconic music venues, Hugh's Room. In addition to a splendid evening of entertainment, the event began with a team of Toronto firefighters on hand to welcome the female attendees, thus setting off a night of four-alarm fun...and then some.  The album's marquee single, Stop, Drop, & Roll (The Fireman Song)  is tantalizingly teasing and pleasing with Aynsley's  playful vocals sweetly laid over a blues beat and rough-edged guitar, accented and heated up by Carson Freeman's ultra-chic sax notes. (Even before the track was actually finished, its YouTube teaser led to a licence deal for use in promotion of the Saskatchewan Professional Firefighter's Calendar, and was featured Ontario-wide on Global TV to raise money for the Burn Fund). It's a sultry and sexy lead in to Saxe's sophomore release which she co-produced, highlighting her multi-tasking and talented exploits. Winter Love is a beautifully melodic love song, with medium tempo feel-good layered harmonies perfectly married with a piano-led and cello-accented background. Saxe's voice is unwavering and bold on the title song, Take Me As I Am, another fabulously written and performed track that’s both soul and emotion stirring. The true essence of Saxe's voice is clearly evident on We Won't Say Goodbye, because in my opinion, the ultimate test of any singer's voice is how it stands up with little to no instrumentation to back it up (or in some cases, cover it up), and her performance on this particular track indicates the raw strength and beauty of her vocal abilities. As an added surprise on Take Me As I Am, Saxe's piano-led interpretation of Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill is highly pleasing and enjoyable while remaining true and respectful to the original rock classic. Take Me As I Am melds contemporary jazz basics with pop undertones; it's incontrovertibly smooth, playful, and refreshing. And if Saxe's debut is an indication of what might be still to come, there's guaranteed to be plenty of 'takers'.
Reviewed by Stu Berketo


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