In her eyes, in her songwriting, and in her vocals, lifelong Yukon artist Shirly Ambrose, artistically known simply as Ambrose is energetic and passionate. Her music is unique and special, for it can be listened to from various perspectives and angles. Regardless of whether you are happy or sad, her 10-song, 70 minute plus sophomore album, “Out of Nowhere” seems to be apt for the present moment. She is worthy of the accolades received, or still to be received for this gem. Personalized vocals, striking piano, and unique style all reflect an artist who wants to reveal to the world her true talent without compromising her special qualities in the name of trying to blend in with the insipid, superficial styles of today’s trendy market products.
It’s hard to describe Ambrose in few words. She’s an unusual individual – strong principles, open-minded, forward-thinking and diligent in her ambitions. There is no denying she is beyond unique, and distances herself in sound from any of the popular female artists out there today. She truly holds her own, and her sound is something to take in and appreciate.
“Out of Nowhere” is not to be savored, nor assessed, on the premise of glossy and elaborated, high-tech, electronic production work, perfect-to-pitch, software-tuned vocals, and all the other overwhelming bells and whistles that produce pristine pop vessels – shiny on the outside, and empty on the inside. Ambrose pretty much sticks to the bread and butter of music. Its core essentials.
“Out of Nowhere” is designed to communicate stories, poetic imagery, landscapes, relationships, emotion, passion, and above all, love. Love of self, for others, nature and life itself. At least for me, this much transpires, in varying degrees, from each and every track on this album. For Ambrose it’s not simply about the note being sung, it’s about the emotion and message being diffused.
Even the opening song, “Emotions” makes it clear when Ambrose sings: “Emotions have a way of taking you further than you ever knew.” And then declares: “Been a victim of them my whole life. And in that I must confess…” There can be no doubt that her sound has changed, and has changed for the better. The music is now dominated by her defined vocal stylings, inspired lyrics, as well as those songs driven by keyboards.
“Day into Night” hints to thoughts of existentialism as Ambrose examines the contradictions of growing older and wiser. “Everything” is clearly an ode to someone beloved as Ambrose exclaims: “You’re my everything I always wanted.” Moving forward, “Deep Waters” maintains the theme of love and devotion, opening rather passionately: “You have known me for my whole life. I have loved you for my whole life”.
This album is Ambrose’s best work to date, and is compiled of some of her most beautiful and well put together work. Like “Time To Wish”, and the acoustic-guitar driven “Some Say Love”, which has had extensive airplay on Russian Radio 102.2 FM. Not to mention the resonant piano-dominated “Heaven Only Knows”, which is also infused with the warm sounds of an organ.
“Oh the Klondike so right. Our land of vision and might. Where others come and wanna stay. And learn the pioneer way,” sees Ambrose pay homage to her chosen land on “Sunlight at Midnight”. This is followed by the upbeat “Out of Nowhere”, which also showcases the reverberating instrumental orchestration by Paul Cecchetti, who contributes his musicality across the entire album.
The album closes with the poignant and soul-searching “Never Alone”. The entire album is a journey of sorts, taking you into the mindset of Ambrose and showing off to the world what she has been wanting to do all along. She has matured, set herself apart, and thrust herself towards developing her potential. She’s now a songwriter at her highest peak, showcasing her articulate lyrical gifts.
Ambrose takes care to explain that she is a recent songwriter who has been cornered into singing her own songs but songwriting has been her dream for over forty years. Never wanting to force music, she almost gave up the fantasy until three years ago when songs started to flood her. “I had an obsession with music when I was young that exceeded most people and it seems it has come full circle for me,” she says.
“I always had music deep down but it could never quite surface creatively, until my forties and something profoundly shifted within me,” continues Ambrose. “Somewhere deep behind these vast hills of consciousness, was a reservoir or music screaming to be released, that only personal earthquakes and volcanoes could accomplish.” Which is what happened preceding the making of “Out of Nowhere”, I presume.