Look Back and Listen to: Kathleen Edwards, ‘Voyageur’

Look Back and Listen to: Kathleen Edwards, ‘Voyageur’

Leigh MichaelMonday,19 May 2014

The Snap:

Kathleen Edwards, who first endeared herself to audiences with “I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory,” has been quietly and persistently unfolding beautiful music since 1999. Planning a summer roadtrip? There’s no better time to play catch-up on a decade and a half of music.

You can purchase 2012’s Voyageur on Amazon and iTunes

The Download:

When “I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory” first fills your speakers, it bears the unmistakable twang of a country track. It’s the type of opening that feels Groundhog Day-esque on your local radio station, the one that features Tim McGraw and Kellie Pickler.

But this is where the genre norms end.

Kathleen Edwards calls herself a Canadian, but she grew up in Korea and Switzerland. Her first foray into music was classical violin; the single that brought her fame features her in a hockey rink. She’s been compared to Neil Young and Suzanne Vega in equal measure.

She is neither a country artist nor a folk singer. There’s something disarmingly accessible about her music; it feels at once like the product of someone who possesses one hell of a lot of talent, but is also unpretentious and uncomplicated. Her bare-bones skill at the microphone is best exemplified by her live performances, which, when stripped of any studio bells and whistles, reveal her to be the enchanting musician that she is.

If you enjoy simple beauty, then you’ll be mesmerized by Voyageur. Produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, the album features collaborations with the likes of Norah Jones, Stornoway, and Francis and the Lights. It scored a place on the Billboard 200, yet still remains to be a record that eludes most American audiences. Yet “Pink Champagne” pours emotion and depth beneath its frothy title, and “For the Record” is a woozy, emotional 7-minute roller coaster that should be ridden again and again. “Chameleon/Comedian” (watch below) is darkly humorous, downright strange, and completely infectious (watch it, I mean it).

This is a gem that deserves to be shared. Treat your ears and tell your friends about Kathleen Edwards – and for goodness sakes, don’t skip out on that kickass Bruce Springsteen cover that she did.

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Hat Tips:

Tiny Desk Concert, Kathleen EdwardsAmazoniTunes, Image Credit: Flickr

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