Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Kathleen Edwards -- Back to Me

Kathleen Edwards' second CD "Back to Me" came out in March 2005. I had the chance to see her in Pittsburgh a few months later. At the time, I didn't own any of her CD's but enjoyed the songs WYEP 91.3 played from "Failer," her first CD.

Some of the Ottawa native's songs come off as "in your face, I am woman" statements but this wouldn't appear to be an entirely accurate depiction for this emotional tour through her travels, loves, and hurts. She achieved notoriety playing the late night television circuit in a whirlwind debut that included raves from Rolling Stone. She is currently touring the U.S. with east coast dates in the coming months. She pulls into Pittsburgh for two dates at Club Cafe in April.

During her May 2005 appearance in Pittsburgh, her voice wavered and halted during the second half of the show until she finally burst into tears during a solo encore of "Away." She fought back the tears, started again, and then succumbed to an all out on stage cry that left most of the audience bewildered. There was a long pause as she collected herself, faltered, and then found enough presence to explain that sometimes "you just lose it. This has never happened to me."

We all stood there, a few feet away from the distraught Edwards, unable to do anything to ease her pain. Someone in the crowd shouted "We love you, Kathleen" which seemed to diminish some of the awkwardness. It was a strange moment for everyone involved with an undercurrent of "you can do this" empowerment gushing toward the crumpled Edwards.

She tried the song again through tearful sniffles and muffled lyrics to finally finish. You could have heard a pin drop as she struggled through the song. The crowd roared loving approval as the final note hung over us.

Mary Gauthier opened for Kathleen that night so the audience was already in a heady mood. I left the show with such a mix of feelings that it was hard to pinpoint my feelings about her as an artist. I had just witnessed a human being fall apart on stage to a sold out audience -- she was more than just Kathleen Edwards, the musician, after that.

Her band, including her husband guitarist Colin Cripps, rocks on songs like "Back to Me" and "In State." Kathleen's voice is high and wavering during the more emotional cuts like "Away" and "Hockey Skates." I've seen some comparisons to Lucinda Williams but I wouldn't say her voice or her style is that pronounced at this point in her career. Perhaps earlier Lucinda, yes. I'd compare her more to Beth Orton's ethereal sound on "Trailer Park" and "Central Reservation." (Beth has a new CD "Comfort of Strangers" and is currently touring the U.K. and Ireland with 20 U.S. dates to follow. The new CD song samples included on her web site are intriguing.)

Kathleen Edwards' web site features tour dates and song samples. She's a bourbon drinker, straight up, if you get the chance to see her this spring.


Blogger queenie said...

I just got your comment and I must say, I'M JEALOUS. Kathleen came to Nashville which is kind of close to me (if 6 hours is close) and I didn't get to go. However, I am making the trek to see Sarah and if Kathleen comes back anytime soon I will be there. STILL JEALOUS, though:)

2:28 PM  
Blogger queenie said...

PS, is it ok if I link to you? This is the kind of music I NEED.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

I hope the Sarah show is a memorable one. She plays here a lot -- few times a year -- and I've never gone to see her. Of course, I'm assuming you're talking about Sarah Harmer. : ) Feel free to link and check back each week for updates. Thanks for stopping by!

6:44 PM  
Blogger bruce said...

I love shows were the person behind the artist comes out. Sounded like a great show. The first time I saw her, a couple of years ago, she had to stop the show also. But that was because it was a late show (started at midnight) and the woman sitting next to me in the front row had fallen asleep. She couldn't let that pass without commenting. And she's never forgotten it. She told me it is now a fond memory.

I'm sorry I haven't answered your email yet, it has been so busy around here lately. To answer your question, she is doing a duo tour right now because of money. She just did a couple of weeks in Australia and couldn't afford to bring the band. They are hitting a few cities before returning home.

I'd love to swap links with you and will do a link sometime this weekend... I hope.

1:33 PM  

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