After three-and-a-half weeks in the United States, a few things are more obvious than ever: People love Canada, Canadians love talking about Canada, and Canada is incredible in every way.
Aside from healthcare and human rights, music comes up a lot. And Canadians are hella-proud of their music.
Kathleen Edwards is utterly Canadian. At first glance she's polite and sweet, ruminating quietly on love and landscape and hockey skates, but dig a little deeper and you'll see that she's dry and dark, with a penchant for pot and dropping F-bombs. If we're a nation of sarcastic-yet-friendly, thoughtful-yet-forthright stoners, she's our ambassador.
It doesn't get much more Canadian than that.
Her new album, Voyageur, is a perfect evolution from her previous work. This certainly isn't a departure from her usual stuff, though it is rich and lush and rollicking (at times) in a new way. It's also its own opposite, heavy and thick in a new way. (Edwards and her long-time collaborator/partner recently divorced and the impact is felt clearly.) Through headphones the depth in the details of every song makes your eyes grow wide when marching down the street to it.
Enjoy my choices for The Essential Kathleen Edwards, a couple of favourites from each of her amazing albums. Please immediately head to the place you buy music to fill in the blanks. Every song she's ever recorded lives in my Bottomless Top 10 List.
The Essential Kathleen Edwards
2. Change the Sheets
3. House Full of Empty Rooms
4. Going to Hell
5. In State
6. Scared at Night
7. National Steel
8. Good Things
10. A Soft Place to Land
Image by Todd V. Wolfson for Rollingstone
The Essential Fiona Apple (November 27, 2010)
Black and White (November 9, 2010)
Listen to her appearance on CBC Radio Q from earlier today. Jian Ghomeshi + Kathleen Edwards + the CBC = Canadian super atomic bomb of amazing. And the set starts with "A Soft Place to Land", which upon first-listen several weeks ago, became my all-time favourite track by Ms. Edwards. Enjoy.