Edwards' rough voice, boozy song
Kathleen Edwards wants it understood that she has nothing against roots rocker Lucinda Williams. She just wishes music writers would ease up on the comparisons.
"Even though it's a really flattering compliment at times, I'm kind of tired of feeling like I'm just second best to someone who has been around for a long time," says Edwards, who leads her band into the Phoenix Concert Theatre tonight.
"She is a fantastic artist. It's just that there are moments when I think, `Okay, enough. This is not who I'm influenced by. And this isn't who I'm trying to be.' It does wear on you a bit. It makes me feel that I really don't have an original bone in my body. So I'm ready to try something that will separate me from that."
To that end, the Ottawa-bred roots rocker is tossing around ideas for her next album. She has been listening to Talk Talk, influential purveyors of '80s synth-pop, and is toying with the notion of inviting a children's chorus into the studio.
'The songs would still be at the core," she says. "But I'd like to play around with a few more things. I feel like I have enough confidence to do that and not worry about who might like or dislike the change that I'm ready for."
That's in the future. For the time being, Edwards has enough on her plate, having recently moved to Hamilton with her husband, Colin Cripps, who also plays guitar in her band.
Besides, she is still on the road promoting Back to Me, the follow-up to her 2003 breakthrough Failer. That album, which introduced listeners to Edwards' rough-edged voice and booze-soaked songcraft, not only launched the singer's career but also saw her unofficially crowned Lucinda II.
"Back to Me is exactly the record I wanted to make," she says. "It wasn't a departure from Failer. It has the same feel, but it is a better sounding record. It was little slicker and more representative of what we sounded like as a touring band."
As part of the current tour, Edwards' five-piece has opened for Willie Nelson and played on a Farm Aid bill that also featured Neil Young.
"It was my first time seeing Neil Young," she says. "He did a few new songs and then he kicked into `Southern Man.' I was standing 10 feet away from him on the side of the stage. Just thinking about still gives me goose bumps."
Tonight's gig will be the second of the current tour for Edwards, whose band includes Ottawa singer/songwriter Jim Bryson on keys and backing vocals.
'that was really early on in the tour," she says of an April date at the Mod Club. "Even though we had a really great show, we were still a little rusty. We've had a lot of shows to work things out.
"Jim Bryson has become such a fantastic and integral part of our band now. It's been really fun to have things like a vibraphone and having him sing with me once in a while is fantastic."