@review MARK MUNDORFF
Release Date: January 17, 2012
Kathleen Edwards. You probably don’t know her name, but you should. Listen to her latest release Voyageur and you’ll understand why. She’s more than just your upfront, hyper-promoted talent. Still not ringing a bell? If you watched this year’s Grammys you may have seen her with her boyfriend, Bon Iver’s front man Justin Vernon, who took home the award for Best New Artist. Another fun fact-Vernon is the one who produced Voyageur.
Edwards, who’s from Ottawa, was trained in classical violin as a child. But her musical influence came from her older brother’s recordings of musicians like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Just listen to “Empty Threat,” the first cut on her latest release, and you’ll get a great feel for her style. Great rhythms, melodic voice, and perfectly crafted lyrics. The first song does what any opening of an album should do: it leaves you wanting more.
You are immediately hit with the next cut, “Chameleon Comedian,” which brings you to the real start of Edwards’ genius. Static back beats and solid guitar riffs blend into Edwards’ vocals, showcasing her talent both as a singer and as a songwriter.
And just as you catch the glimpse of her musical mind, she lets you fall into the heart of her music with “A Soft Place to Land.” You’re left with the feel of the early seventies, the classic style of folk rock, the dawning of the new age.
In “Change the Sheets,” Edwards continues to wow. But here, it’s her writing as much as her vocals that take hold. “My love is like a stockpile of broken wills, like Santa Fe, margaritas and sleeping pills. ..Change this feeling under my feet. Change the sheets, and then change me,” she sings. In her plea, and with a voice that’s rhythmic and lyrical, she takes the listener down a road filled with both heartbreak and hope.
Edwards, who first came to the music world’s attention in 2003, when Rolling Stone named her one of the year’s most promising new acts, keeps getting better and better. Let her music move you. Let it open you and let it change the way you feel. It will, if you listen.
And someday, when the music world is looking back at the prolific singer/songwriters of this generation, it’s likely Edwards will be remembered as one of the greatest influences of her time.