Man, I feel behind. Spotify describes Kathleen Edwards as "a fixture on the female American landscape" (she's Canadian, by the way). She's studied violin since a very young age and moved with her parents overseas as they served the country and was removed from American pop for a while, delving into Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Tom Petty records instead. After high school, she wound up back in Canada and hit the scene there.
Her recorded debut was in 1999 with an EP, Building 55. It seems like she's been writing, recording, and touring ever since. Things have gone more Americana for her ever since, so we'll see what's up in this latest, Voyageur, which is apparently a chronicle of a love affair - beginning to end.
"Empty Threat" is track one, and I have to say, right off the bat, there's something incredibly nice about this sound. The guitar is gentle, but carries as it should. It moves the way a good 90's song used to - you know exactly the ones I'm talking about. This isn't as annoying as Sheryl Crow could be, keeping up its sound with just a great basic rhythm and playing. The song is a really great intro to an album that I'm hoping with be just as good. While it's hard to relate to (I mean, it's about moving to America - which is her empty threat, but she can still say it), although, I could just replace "America" with "Nashville" and probably be in the same boat... Anywhos, here's a live performance from CBC's Studio 211:
The piano takes front and center for "A Soft Place to Land," and if this wasn't in the Twilight soundtrack somewhere, I don't know what was. This is totally a song you could loose yourself in on a rainy day. All I want to do is kick back and forget the world right now. In the meantime though, it has this fantastic power to it, full of understanding of pain that drives you mad and coming down from it. Does that make sense to anyone else? I mean, there's just this really fantastic sense of calm after the tragedy for some reason. Come home from a funeral of a dear friends and maybe you'll get what i mean on this one.
In an exciting little change of things, "Change the Sheets" picks up the pace just enough to warrant the label of dance beat. There's a cool bass back coming from what I assume is an electronic devices, but don't quote me there. The rest of the instruments sort of also keep a pretty regular beat going, breaking out for a different one in the chorus. The melody is carried by the vocals though. This one's an extreme 90's-sound-throw-back song that I'm almost tempted to associate with more recent Goo Goo Dolls music, but even then it's toned down. In short, this is the track that has hands in the air and hips moving during the show. Let's check out the video.
We get some electric guitar to pick things up for "Mint." It's still a relatively slow, steady movement in the beat, and there's some reverb added to the mic. Unfortunately, I can't label this one a winner either - the pitch is too high to enjoy really, and it's just like way too much else I've ever heard. None of the lyrics make an impression, though maybe closer listening would show them doing so. Meh, I think I just want to get back to watching some True Blood.
I like "Sidecar." I'm not sure if it's any one element that makes it stand out in my mind though. There's these cool little hints of horns going on throughout. The drums are keeping a sweet little rock beat. The melody is enjoyable and the lyrics are sort of uplifting. I think altogether it makes for a good dance-around-your-room album for really no terribly good reason. The Line of Best Fit did a live session with her and posted this one back in November:
Eh, now we're getting a little too into the airy side of folk, where we're constantly on a whim of the wind, with "Going to Hell." I didn't realize how out of place that statement was until I looked and typed the title of the song. I'm telling you, that title's just ironic for the first minute or so, at least until the drums pick up a bit, because it sounds more like she's floating on air up to heaven. The drums are what brings on the hell element, as the song builds into something much, much more. Once the guitar pulls in an electric sound, we're definitely realizing a more chaotic sound and something entirely more fitting of the title.
"For the Record" is the final song on this album. "I only wanted to sing songs" is what got me as I was playing on my learn Italian app and not paying attention. It's a final statement on her life and what she's been though, in comparison to what she ever planned. You can put her down or hang her out to dry, but the girl just wanted to make music above it all.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Empty Threat"
- "A Soft Place to Land"
- "Pink Champagne"
- "For the Record"