I am by no means a fan of the blues, but I enjoy the vibe around downtown Fredericton when the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival arrives in early September. Most years I manage to find at least one show I’m interested in seeing. This year, hands down, it’s Kathleen Edwards.
I was in between jobs (read: unemployed) when Failer was released in 2003 (and haha, how fitting. I was already feeling a little Failer-ish at the time.) I borrowed her disc from the public library I worked at a few hours a week. I am an unabashed fan of women singer-songwriters, so she had me there. I loved her sound: a little alt-country, a little bit influenced by Neil Young, lyrics that suggested she’s had her heart broken more than a few times and that she might be a bit of a bad ass.
A few years ago, I finally committed myself to her catalog, starting with Asking For Flowers and then the other two albums. Her sound has evolved enough to remind me more of Sheryl Crow at times than the Neil – at least, that’s what I find with Voyageur – but her lyrics have retained that cutting honesty and vulnerability.
I’ve been hoping to catch her live, so I logged online the moment the tickets were available for her Harvest show. I promised the Littlest Bee that I would take her along since she digs David Myles (Kathleen’s opener) and to make up for not taking her to Springsteen (more on that another day). Two front row tickets stage right? Yes, please!
I hear The Playhouse is wasp-free, so it should be a fantastic show (a little background on that here in this terrific interview from Newfoundland and Labrador’s The Independent) Here’s a few tracks I hope she includes in the set list:
If there’s a sing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs-in-the-car song in the Kathleen Edwards catalog, it’s this one. “Heavy rotation on the CBC, whatever in hell that really means.” Yeah, I don’t know either. I do know that this video is all sorts of corny but it deserves watching for the NHL greats cameos and Dave Hodge. And the on-ice scuffle with Jim Cuddy (Jim Cuddly to me and my friends).
Littlest Bee and I have been singing this one together at bedtime for the last few weeks. It’s grown to become my favourite from Voyageur. Who doesn’t want someone to chase down the hard stuff with them?
Dear Lord, so this will bring the heaving shaking sobs. And for that matter, “Hockey Skates”. Kathleen knows how to bring the heartache of the failed relationship and the self-loathing like no other.
On a related note, I hear it’s been a fantastic festival so far, judging from my own little social media universe. My Twitter feed blew up tonight with raves over the Avett Brothers. I doubt Kathleen Edwards will reach that level of hysteria, but I’m not concerned. I’m just looking forward to seeing an amazing Canadian artist and treating my daughter to her first real concert experience.