Meredith Shaw CD Release - The Rivoli, Toronto - May 10th, 2011

Review and Photos by Valerie Bennett

Meredith Shaw is in her happy place and isn’t afraid to share it, with the release of her debut album on May 10th. The ten-track album, titled A Place Called Happy, was produced by Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar) at Willie Nelson’s studio in Texas.

The singer/songwriter celebrated the album's release with friends, family, and media at The Rivoli last Tuesday. Guests received a goodie bag of candy treats upon their arrival, but the goodies didn’t stop there. Tiers of colourful cupcakes adorned the bar, while the tables were stocked with bottles of blowing bubbles and star-shaped sunglasses. Shaw’s merch table was filled with more candies, chocolates, and lip balms (from muffymade, her own line of gifts and greeting cards) along with, of course, her new album. The atmosphere that Shaw had created for her release party served as an apt indicator of her own quirky, feminine personality.

The show began with a brief video of Shaw recounting her experiences with making A Place Called Happy, before the screen was lifted and the band kicked off the set. Shaw joined them onstage and the crowd cheered, as she performed her signature blend of pop, folk and country music.

While her soft melodies proved to hook those in attendance, it was her bright, fun-loving and slightly sensual demeanour that made her stand out as a new artist. She interacted with the audience in between each song, explaining the meaning behind each and what inspired them.

She performed tracks such as "Joey", "King of the Road", "Stars" and "Little Fishy". Shaw made a special dedication for the song "Girls Who Believe", the final track from A Place Called Happy. The single has been featured on the popular Canadian television show Degrassi. Since its debut on the show, Shaw has developed a traveling showcase of the same name, targeted toward high school girls. The Girls Who Believe showcase approaches self-esteem, songwriting and careers in the field of music.

Shaw wrapped up her set, genuinely thanking everyone for attending, before joining the crowd to mingle, chat and just be happy.