BRIDGE GUITAR REVIEWS CD REVIEWS OF ACOUSTIC GUITARISTS & SINGER/SONGWRITERS WHO DEMONSTRATE A HIGH CALIBER IN MUSIC. Issue May/June 2008 Lesley Young "Inside " 2008[sic] Bluesong Records At a young age Lesley Young discovered a natural ability for music and writing. From her home town Toronto, Canada she got enough multicultural influences to write her musical stuff which absorbed and inspired her. Lesley took guitar lessons from teachers who graduated at Berklee School of Music. At The Kingston Schoolof Music, she studied voice for a year. Lesley taught guitar at The Cabbagetown Community Arts Center. In 1994 she released her first CD "Symphony for Two" which was received well. In 2007 the time was right for her second album "Inside". "Inside" is a captivating CD which contains a varied range of styles, from alt pop, folk to a touch of jazz. Lesley's music reflects the acoustic guitar styles of among Joan Armatrading, Bruce Cockburn, Suzanne Vega, and Joni Mitchell. As well her acoustic guitar skills, her vocal and songwriting capabilities are first-class. She nevertheless created a own style in music with wonderful lyrics and heart-warming ballads like "Deschenes Avenue"," I Want You" and "Jezebel", which has a wonderful structure. The opening piece" Inside" is another top-notch way of song-writing with a wonderful returning melody line. "Time of My Life" has a fine groove and the interaction with her band is remarkable. On "Wait Till Darkness" her magnificent and touching voice is embracing ones heart. The CD is superbly recorded and certainly will impress a wide audience which is a wonderful journey from the inside. Henk te Veldhuis Bridge Guitar Reviews/Netherlands 2008
Former foot feeler fulfilled by music. Published 29th of April, 2007. By Angela Scappatura Lesley Young releases new album Cabbagetown resident, writer and musician, Lesley Young, said her latest CD release, Inside, emerged from the realization that she wasn’t fulfilled without music. “I was a reflexologist for a while in the west end and it came down to deciding that I really wasn’t feeling like a whole person until I was doing my own music,” Young said. “I was doing it for myself in my living room and I hadn’t recorded for a while and then it was clear that I was going to do it now or never.” Young has been performing for nearly three decades and began creating songs for Inside out of a desire to write. “Ultimately, I am a writer. I would finish something and think, ‘Oh I should play this for somebody,’” Young said. “I had a lot of help from my partner John, he’s been supporting me to do another album because I had let things fall by the wayside.” Young says the songs all represent universal themes born out of a period of struggle in her personal life. “It’s got a lot of meaty subjects. The collection of songs are a pretty good representation of a few years of work and the best stuff I’ve done in that period,” Young said. “It doesn’t sound cheerful but there are a lot of upbeat messages because I really was coming out of a period of stagnation into a period of my own colour.” The title track emerged when Young, finding herself drowning in an unhappy relationship, decided to enjoy her own company for a while. “Inside arose out of the realization that I was in a really bad relationship that was unhealthy and the feeling that came out of that fact that I didn’t need to be in a bad relationship,” Young said. “Inside is about enjoying being myself and your own company. People can relate to it, women or men. It summed up the album for me.” Young dedicated another song on the CD to her grandmother who passed away in 2005 while the album was being mixed. “Deschenes Avenue is a song about the essence of summer and being a child and the ideas of renewal,” said Young. The CD, released under Young’s own label BlueSong records, is available for purchase on cdbaby.com and will eventually be on iTunes for download. Samples from the album can be heard on www.lesleyyoung.com
Exclaim Magazine Music Review Published 19th of September, 2007 -click title to go to link. Lesley Young Inside By Eric Thom You know that feeling you get from biting into dark chocolate, being torn between guilt and unadulterated pleasure? That’s what this second release is all about by Toronto singer-songwriter Lesley Young. Floating in an ether of confidence and self-assuredness, Young has crafted ten pure pop ditties that seem ageless in their purity. These are light, fluffy and irresistible old school tunes that boast sturdy hooks, sparse but tasteful accompaniment and a cool, clear voice that cuts through the typical tortured, "chip on my shoulder" singer-songwriter syndrome as a buoyant, uplifting alternative. The star of the show is Young’s crystalline vocal tone and soft, breathy asides, yet the gentle arrangements, which tenderly frame each three-minute song, deserve credit. Highlights include the quirky "Give Me A Sign" and the darker "Jezebel," while "Time of My Life" bubbles with Lisa Loeb-ness. Some songs simply get lost in themselves going nowhere ("Duschenes[sic] Avenue," "Wait Until Darkness Comes"), while others ("I Want You") find a natural balance between sparse accompaniment and pop appeal, sneaking up on you with a subtle stick, its elusive hook eventually finding the mark. Young’s second disc shows the promise of good things to come and I can’t wait. (Independent)
Insidetoronto.com City Centre/The Mirror.Published 18th of May, 2007 Cabbagetowner digs deep Inside for inspiration by Justin Skinner Cabbagetown singer/songwriter Lesley Young recently placed one of her songs in the Top 5 of an international songwriting competition. Cabbagetown resident Lesley Young has no problem baring her soul for all to hear, and that honesty has led to new heights of success. The singer-songwriter recently released her second album, Inside, which delves into the pain and heartache of both enduring and ending a long-term relationship turned sour. The deeply personal songs earned her great acclaim, as the title track was selected as a Top 5 finalist in a pair of international songwriting competitions. Another track on the album was also selected as a finalist in the Great American Songwriting Contest. "I've always been what you could call a confessional songwriter," Young said. "I've never really been a storyteller, though I tried to bring a bit of that out in this album. I think my best work comes when I try to bring out universal themes." The inspiration for Inside came from the dissolution of her marriage, a subject that was obviously front and centre in her mind as she wrote. "It sounds like it would be a dismal subject, but I focused more on the upside of being single and being comfortable with yourself," she said. While Young has caught the ears of big names in the music industry, including judging panelists Norah Jones and Sheila E., she was initially hesitant to even attempt a stab at getting into the business. She started out in the 1970s, playing solely for friends at small gatherings due in part to the personal nature of her songs. Word got out about her talent, however, and before too long, she was playing with the Street Cry Theatre Company. "I had intended to learn a bit about acting and I wound up singing and dancing," she said. "One of the first things I did was actually on public radio (the CBC)." She has honed her talents and expanded her horizons over the years, infusing elements of jazz, folk and world music into her repertoire, mixing them together to create a unique blend of styles to call her own. While she cites such stripped-down singers as Joni Mitchell, Suzanne Vega and Rickie Lee Jones as some of her major influences, she has been inspired by everything to mainstream music to Turkish psychedelic music. "It makes it difficult to categorize my sound and hard to market my sound in a way that would be coherent to someone, because I think my music is the sum total of all the things I listen to," she said. "The artists I listen to span everything from classical and jazz to folk and rock." Young's latest album has already surpassed her expectations in terms of critical praise. Because it was so personal, she was unsure as to whether it would hold much appeal to industry types, who often look toward marketability above all else. "You never know how you're going to be received in that world, or whether what you do will be seen as being of value in that world," she said. "I've always felt my songs have artistic merit, but so much is about being a commodity in that world." The singer almost left the award-winning track Inside off the album because it was so closely tied to her own experience. The song, however, has obviously resonated with others. "I think people respond best to the (songs) that are the most revealing or personal," she said. "They just feel the intensity of the message and it comes through that much stronger." Though her new album took three years to record and was just launched at the end of April, Young said she is already working on arranging new tracks with her band, which includes her partner John McKay-Clements, Andrew Mason, Edward Mortenson and Cindy Smith. The new tracks will include open tunings to create distinct guitar melodies and Eastern psychedelic influences. "The songs are just coming out of me of their own accord and (the band is) just enjoying arranging the stuff together," she said. Young moved into her Cabbagetown home about a year ago, returning to the neighbourhood where she grew up and attended Lord Dufferin Public School. While the return has been comfortable, she acknowledged that times have changed in the community. "There definitely wasn't as much gentrification back then, and things are a bit more upscale along parts of Parliament Street," she said. "Right now, it's a weird mix of cheaper stores that have hung around and a really nice, cool strip along Parliament." She said she enjoys the convenience of living downtown, in an area where local shops and public transit are easily accessible. "It's definitely not hard to be comfortable here," she said. "I love the fact that I can go out and within a block of my house, I can find all kinds of interesting shops and things to do." Young's album, Inside, is available at Sam the Record Man, Rotate This, She Said Boom! and Slinky Music.