Kate Rogers St. Eustacia

Considering what has gone before in Kate Rogers’s life, it might not be immediately obvious what musical pathway she has decided to follow. Born on a farm outside Toronto, she attended the Royal Conservatory of Music for seven years before abandoning her classical training and embracing a huge number of other influences. The list is so diverse it includes bluegrass, reggae and hip-hop, yet she also spent time following around the likes of the Grateful Dead and Phish on tour. Her recording career began with providing vocals for Grand Central artists Rae & Christian and Aim, yet her debut album might come as a bit of a surprise. It is hard to write about St. Eustacia without mentioning Beth Orton or Dido because those are the easiest comparisons, yet Rogers very much has her own identity thanks to strength in both her voice and her songwriting. Considering this is a Grand Central release, St. Eustacia is remarkably laid-back and beat-free. From the majesty of the wonderful "Mighty” to the acoustic sparseness and beauty of "Joan,” Rogers has a real knack for writing songs that pull in the listener and that is true for the entire album. This is a very impressive debut that demonstrates that Rogers is no longer just a guest vocalist. (Grand Central)