Since the last record review I posted was a complete and utter slam of Lenny Kravitz's latest, here's a glowing write-up of the new Kathleen Edwards, one of my favorite releases to come out so far this year.
Asking for Flowers
Three albums into her career, Canadian singer/songwriter Kathleen Edwards has reached a new high point with this latest installment of folk-rock brilliance. Asking for Flowers eases from touching confessionals to full-bodied character studies. Thereâs plenty of pathos explored here, but sheâs no sad sack; her disposition swings from vulnerable and somber to tough and adorably playful. Edwardsâ voice is deceptively slight, quietly revealing several diariesâ worth of emotion.
The melodies and arrangements are as uniformly effective as the lyrical content. Piano, strings, strummed acoustic guitars and a driving backbeat accompany ballads like the gripping opener âBuffalo.â Edwards displays her humorous side on âI Make the Dough, You Get the Glory,â a catchy number featuring a countrified Hammond organ and pedal steel â plus a line that should endear her to hockey enthusiasts: âYouâre the Great One, Iâm Marty McSorleyâ (a reference to Wayne Gretzky and the goon teammate who protected him).
The albumâs lone protest song forgoes sloganeering for a poignant narrative about a young man who falls in love and refuses to die in an âOil Manâs War.â The band rolls down the lost highway like a twangier version of the Heartbreakers, while Edwards delivers each line with arresting conviction, creating a sympathetic portrait of a modern-day draft dodger. âAnd Iâm not gonna die/ Keep your hand on my thigh tonight,â goes the lyric. âWhen we get up north weâll buy us a store/ I wonât fight in an oil manâs war.â 4 stars