Kathleen Edwards

REVIEW: Kathleen Edwards “Dogs & Alcohol”


Kathleen Edwards – Dogs & Alcohol EP

Of course, this is one of those artists who’s always dependable when she issues new music. Kathleen released 2-years ago her first album in 8 years Total Freedom, & that 10-song LP was a welcome return to form. Here, on these 4 tracks, she explores a subtle showcase with clarity in her lyrics, breezy acoustics & expressive pedal steel that floats like a feather throughout the melody.

Ms. Edwards has that special vocal tonality that draws attention by the way she shapes her words & applies them & tells her tales. With legendary singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell probably no longer issuing new work due to their health & circumstances it’s refreshing to know another Canadian artist like Kathleen Edwards exists to not take up the slack – but to carry on.

This is basically a more acoustic-based set but the 4-tunes on Dogs & Alcohol EP (Dropped April 1–Dualtone Records) is the natural way of presenting songs in their barest form. It shows listeners how they came to be especially when they do indeed develop into fully realized pieces. “Dogs and Alcohol,” & the John Lennon cover “Love,” from one of his earliest solo albums is transformed from pleading angst-ridden original to Kathleen’s beautiful interpretation, rendition & performance.

“Options Open,” & “Glenfern,” are totally acoustic & both are available on the full LP Total Freedom, which was produced by Jim Bryson, Ian Fitchuk & Kathleen.

Ms. Edwards has been compared favorably as a Suzanne Vega meets Neil Young — but believe me, if you immerse yourself in her repertoire there’s no one quite like Kathleen. Her specialty is her manner of storytelling & sticking her words to the notes she writes – unlike many. There are many great singer-songwriters that have recorded yesterday, today & perhaps tomorrow – but to be regaled as Kathleen Edwards they’ll need to shape originality into a structured piece with personality. Janis Ian did it, some lesser-known but exceptional writers like Kit Hain, Judee Sill & Ferron did it & we know Laura Nyro & Joan Baez did. This is why these artists, with a huge following or not, have lasted.

Kathleen Edwards is special. She often sounds like she’s singing only to you. She doesn’t write songs — she creates stories that are put to music. Then she has the added benefit of being able to bring them to life with her wonderful voice.

I for one, look forward to anything she issues. Without even hearing it first. I have for years.

The EP is available @ https://www.kathleenedwards.com/ + https://kathleenedwards.bandcamp.com/album/dogs-and-alcohol

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