Kathleen Edwards won't back down
Firecracker alt-country siren Kathleen Edwards is one part tomboy, one part sensitive songstress.
A touching song on her latest album Asking for Flowers features just her naked voice singing about her love for her husband over a gently strummed guitar and she titled it Sure As Shit. It's evident this flower has thorns.
Audiences have been catching on to her musical duality and tonight she plays a sold-out show at The Starlite Room right before heading off for a tour in Europe.
Yet despite this Canadian's outspoken reputation, do not speak the 'f-word' to her. No, not that one, as anyone who has seen her play live can attest to her penchant for cuss words, but the 'famous' epithet.
"I don't think I'm famous," Edwards says bluntly from a tour stop in Vancouver. "I just try and make my music and hope the cheques get through and the band guys cash them and have we have fun and stay relevant."
Since her debut album, 2003's Failer, Edwards has made a career out of spiting vulnerability over ragged glory guitars, all of which reaches an extraordinary climax on the recently released Asking for Flowers.
"I just wanted to write songs that are important to me, so I kind of set out with that as my intention," Edwards says about the sessions leading up to the album's creation. "Some of the songs aren't even about me, but I feel pretty invested in them."
Edwards worked with famed producer Jim Scott who wrangled up top studio musicians such as Benmount Tench, founding member of the Heartbreakers.
'The sessions were fantastic because I got to spend part of winter 2007 in California," says Edwards. "Working with Jim Scott was a pretty fantastic experience and then playing with a bunch of guys I don't know, who Jim brought in, was amazing."
Working with unknown musicians helped to shape the songs Edwards brought in.
"I think they helped me feel very settled in them, all I had to think about was actually playing the song in the studio and not so much thinking about what parts were being played because they were such great players and you just let them do their thing," says Edwards.
However, it's two Edmonton Oiler legends that have earned Edwards her most recognition to-date. In her song I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory, she sings the line "You're the Great One, I'm Marty McSorley," a reference to Wayne Gretzky's legendary rink protector.
"Man, if I don't get a fucking reaction to that song in Edmonton I'm never coming back," she jokes. "It kind of just fell out of my mouth really and it made me laugh so I wrote it down and it never went away. Now good ol' Marty McSorley is part of my lyrical catalogue permanently."
She even made a music video for the song, featuring her playing hockey with McSorley and Paul Coffey, an experience she calls "one of the best days of my life."
While the Ottawa native can get press in Canada for name-dropping NHL superstars, Edwards says audiences in Europe have been quicker to respond to her music, noting that she plays to more people in Ireland than in Edmonton.
"Everything in its time and place. I don't think I fit in commercial radio, and that's totally cool, and maybe one day I will and when that happens it will be nice too," says Edwards, who once penned a song entitled One More Song the Radio Won't Like. "Either way, I'm happy to navigate the business of music by doing the creative part and letting other people handle the business part."