An Avoidable Truth


Kathleen Edwards (Zoe Records)

By Paul Moffett

At first listen, Kathleen Edwards sounds remarkably like Sarah Harmer, with whom she shares a country, a label and a bass player. Beyond that, however, the two go their separate ways: Harmer and Edwards both write quite personal and first person songs, focused on relationships but the lives they have lived seem quite different if their subject matter is any indication. Edwards' is summed up in her album title.

Edwards triple-A radio song is "Six O'Clock News," a cheerful little ditty about a woman whose man is shot down in the street by the police, a guy who had "spent half his life trying to turn the other half around," whose face is "all over the six-o'clock news" while she is left outside trying to get in. The arrangement, however, belies the unhappiness of the theme: it's pretty bouncy, sing-along triple-A material.

"One More Song The Radio Won't Like" is also melodically hooky and lyrically whiny, followed by the equally "I'm miserable" "Hockey Skates." Other songs seem mostly sad retelling of failed interactions, centered around sex: "I wanna be your friend, just take off your clothes and get into my bed" from "12 Bellevue" and this from "Mercury": "Wanna go get high/The Mercury is parked outside/Wanna take me to/the parking lot of the old high school." "Westby" sounds wrung out of her: ""If you weren't so old, I'd probably keep you/you weren't so old, I'd tell my friends/ but I don't think your wife would like my friends."

All of this ennui is, however, sung to some very hook-ridden, itchingly persistent melodies, which is why it's stayed on the radio and on the LMN changer for a while. Having written this review, however, it'll now be exchanged for something other CD, hopefully one wherein the artist is less miserable.