I first heard Nicole Edward’s voice in 2012 when I worked at Aroma Borealis Herb Shop. I had just recently moved to the Yukon and was getting up to speed on who is who in the arts community. Luckily, Aroma Borealis is a big supporter of local music and keeps a CD rack just for Yukon artists. So, I spent many a day blending delicate herbal teas while listening to the voices of Yukon divas like Kim Beggs and Nicole Edwards.

Five years later, I still listen to local music but certainly not enough, and I spend far too much time on iTunes digging around through names I don’t know. Perfect timing then, that I just got a copy of Nicole Edward’s last album Genre Bender and haven’t been on iTunes since.

For those who had hoped to go somewhere warm over the winter but couldn’t afford it, this is your ticket. The Latin sounds in “Lychee Martini” and “Second Thoughts” are sure to do the trick. My personal favourite is the upbeat “Viens Dans Mes Bras”, cowritten by Nicole Edwards and Sylvie Painchaud. The playful woodwinds and piano bounced me through the song, putting a smile on my face, like I was a kid on a carousel again. To get a unique perspective, I listened to the album in different settings, mainly doing dishes and working out at the college gym. My favourite workout song is “I Still Have Something”, which made me rock out like I did at my first high school dance when I heard Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. My favourite song for doing dishes is “Widow’s Waltz”, a heartbreaking ballad of loss, with familiar characters like Mrs. Merle Ralston and Mrs. Frank Brown.

Never having been into Jazz music, I wasn’t sure if I would like this album because I’ve always thought Jazz was a bit too fancy pants and sophisticated for me, but Nicole certainly mixes it up with multiple other genres including Gospel, Rock, Roots, and Latin. The only thing that didn’t win me over is the album’s name, but that hardly matters. The cover art is a radiant picture of Nicole in all her freedom and joy, basking in the Yukon sun.

Overall, I recommend this CD for a New Year’s pick me up, or maybe an early Valentine’s gift that you keep in the closest for a special someone until you find just the right chocolate to go along with it.