Posts Tagged ‘Kathleen Edwards’

Tom Get Your Plane Ride On Time

January 13, 2009

You came to take us
all things go, all things go
to recreate us
all things grow, all things grow
we had our mindset
all things know, all things know
you had to find it
all things go, all things go

Sufjan Stevens

Chicago

Sometimes I find the most intriguing things when I’m out and about in this city. For example, today I picked up U2’s The Joshua Tree and Peter Gabriel’s Us on tape for $1 at a thrift store. It was such an unusual find, but since  my 1995 Camaro only has a tape deck I’m pretty excited.  In some ways I feel sorry for the poor cassette tape. It has been surpassed in quality and utility by the CD, and doesn’t have the vintage cache of vinyl.  No one is clamouring to bring back the tape.  Who wants to struggle with rewinding and fast forwarding for mediocre sound quality, even if you do get the fun of having  “A” and “B” sides? Apparently, tapes have been around since the 1960’s (something I just discovered today). Too bad they are almost obsolete.

I was in my mid-late teens when the ability to burn CDs became available to the average person. So I can remember when making mix tapes was a regular activity among my friends.  Once I was in university we were passing around homemade CDs.  On the surface the two concepts are identical, it’s really just putting random songs on a recording medium so they can be shared. The tape, however, presents one problem that you don’t have with CDs, the aforementioned two side phenomenon. A tape requires that you pick two songs to run into the end of the tape, which may or may not be finished when the recording stops.  The standard length of mixtapes created by me was 90 minutes, or 45 per side.  You can fit roughly 8-10 songs on each side, depending on the length of song.

Some people are keeping the mixtape alive. For example, the S.C.E.N.E. music festival in St. Catherines, Ontario has a mixtape/CD exchange as one of their events. I think it’s a very neat idea, and one that could find its way into The Mid-Summer Festival of Peace and Tranquility.

The point of all this is to create an Alder Fork Mixtape for your listening pleasure. I can’t physically give all my readers a tape, but I can make a list here and encourage you to make one yourself. You can get cassettes for $1 or less at a lot of stores.  I am limiting myself to 8 songs per side for a grand total of 16. I think it should have a theme, so I can leave the door open to make more in the future on other themes.  I am going to call the first one The Where in the World is…Mix.  All of the songs will involve geography in the title or in the theme of the song.

El Salvador – Athlete -great song about material success and Latin American adventures
Stand – REM – I dare you not to dance around for this one
Pacific Theme – Broken Social Scene – just like being in Polynesia, but with more guitar
Washington Square (live iTunes exclusive) – Counting Crows – picking one CC song with geography in it is almost impossible but I did it
Ohio – Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – obvious choice but I couldn’t say no
Grey Street – Dave Matthews Band – few songs speak to me like this one, almost like Grey Street is Bixby Cres.
405 – Death Cab for Cutie – North Americans spend a lot of time on the highway
Geographic Centre of Canada – The Wheat Pool – not only is it Canadian, it’s kind of about geography, perfect!
At the Hundredth Meridian – The Tragically Hip – arguably one of the best Canadian rock songs of all time
Africa – Toto – I’m allowed one wild, out-of-left-field pick
Chicago (To String Remix By Jongalloway) – Sufjan Stevens – a man who is trying to write albums about as many U.S. states as possible
Amsterdam – Coldplay – it’s not even about the things most people want from that city
The Only Living Boy in New York – Simon and Garfunkel – lovely song from a group that wrote a few about traveling around
Buffalo – Kathleen Edwards – no mixtape is complete without a newer song that I listen to 5 times a day
Mercy Street – Peter Gabriel – he uses a boat when he plays this live, that seems appropriate
Babylon II – David Gray – I wouldn’t know about him without this song, so I’ve included the reprise version from the album, the ideal song to wrap things up

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O Canada!

December 27, 2008

This post bears an appropriate title from the first song of Part II of this running diary. Thanks Kathleen Edwards. In case you are confused I’m listening to Kathleen Edwards on demand from CBC Radio 2. It’s her concert at the Ottawa Bluesfest back in July.

O Canada seems like another bitter song from Kathleen Edwards.  She is definitely mad about the world, guns, global warming etc. And honestly of all the countries in the world Canada is probably at or near the bottom of the list for many of the major global problems. Low murder rate, improving pollution record, a boat load of untouched natural resources, and generally healthy happy people.

Scared at Night. And underneath my sheets I could barely breath. This is an interesting little song featuring Kathleen and her acoustic guitar.  I think most people have been afraid of the dark, even just a little bit. The unknown is scary.  But this song is so much darker.  People and cats die in this song.  Songs about death are always hard to listen to. But this one is beautiful, and having Kathleen do it alone was a solid performance choice.

The piano returns early in Summer Long. You couldn’t keep me around if you tried…don’t look back and don’t call. Very nice harmony in the second verse and chorus. Ooooo a little feedback there. That’s the first noticeable audio mistake of the entire concert.

Here is a well known song that is also a favourite of mine, In State. I am curious to know if Kathleen really dated an ex con. Or if she just used her imagination. She writes songs about the most random and interesting things.  This version is being played up tempo. A bit faster than usual. I don’t usually like it when bands do that, it removes the familiarity of the song I think.  My face couldn’t make you leave it behind, maybe 20 years in state’ll change your mind. You know it’s true, when someone has a problem, love will not overcome it. I don’t think romantic passion has ever outdone the drive to use drugs, abuse alcohol, or steal.

Oil Man’s War. The title kind of gives this one away.  Back to the music.  This has been a good concert in terms of performance. The singing is mostly spot on and the band is rocking. I would like to hear a nice big organ solo but I’ll take what I can get from his work behind the guitar.

Is Hockey Skates her quintessential Canadian song? Anything to do with hockey likely ought to be.  I was so tired of playing defence I don’t even have hockey skates. This is a sweet little song.  The guitar work is classic alt country.

Our final song 12 Bellevue.  The concert has been highly enjoyable. It’s unfortunate that they cut out all the in between song talk. I think I might have learnt something from it.  The recording is good, and the performance is solid all the way through.  This one is definitely worth checking out.

There are only about 300 or more concerts on the CBC Radio 2 site. This is going to take awhile.

Cheapest Key

December 26, 2008

Maybe 20 years in state’ll change your mind.

Kathleen Edwards

In State

As a new feature here at The Alder Fork Blog I am going to be dipping into the deep collection of concerts on demand available on the CBC Radio 2 website.  People seem to like it when I review/talk about music. Maybe more than my philosophical meanderings.  I’m kicking this off with the ever-pleasant Kathleen Edwards.  She was captured at the Ottawa Bluesfest this past summer.  Kathleen is one of my favourite Canadian artists these days so this should be a fun ride.

She starts things off with Asking for Flowers, title track of her latest album. I think this song sums up what we should expect the rest of the way.  Gord Tough provides some solid lead guitar work in this song. The music is secure in it’s alt-country style.

Run. There have been a lot of songs with the name Run over the years.  This one has a bouncy bass line, one that invokes older country songs by the likes of Johnny Cash or Conway Twitty. Kathleen has a voie that would work for a number of genres, but like Neko Case she has found a home in this style. At one point she yodels her way through an emotional bit. There are keys in this song, but I’m waiting for a big organ solo. The song just begs for it.  There is just a hint of it towards the end, and we get a guitar solo instead. That is a little disappointing.

I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory starts out like a Paul Brandt song. Not one in particular, just any.  She caters to the crowd by letting them know she’s in her home town.  I’m Elvis Presley in the 70’s. This song is filled with popular references from Masarati to Marty Mcsorley (does he count as popular?).  Your the buffet I’m just the table. Now that’s a compliment!

Goodnight, California begins with a lovely instrumental jam. Big organ chords sit on top of an eccentric bass line.  I like this song because it is more or less an excuse to jam on top of a cool bass line.  Once again Gord Tough gives us some nice guitar work.

After a very Doors-esque jam, we get back to the alt country pop. Cheapest Key is a well known track.  It’s one of those naming songs, “A is for this etc.” You always play me in the cheapest key. I think Kathleen’s been burned a few too many times, someone needs to buy her some ice cream. Hey! Chris Martin offered some back in the Coldplay Live 2003 running diary. We should set them up.  As this is the 6th song I will shut it down for today and come back tomorrow with the usual part two.  If you aren’t familiar with this song, then you probably aren’t that familiar with Kathleen Edwards, shame on you!

Have You Seen It?

November 30, 2008

Up ahead the roads were closed
And the Gennys ran most of Buffalo
The customs man at border control
Said yes you can go
But you won’t make it home

Don’t be like that

Kathleen Edwards

Buffalo

Sometimes I find that a song reminds me of reading a great novel.  Usually it is a Canadian song that bring back feelings of diving into Wild Geese, Have You Seen The Wind, or Emily of New Moon. This Kathleen Edwards song is one of those.  The experience of music is, of course, very subjective. You and I hear the same song but it means something different to us.  Immediately after Buffalo on my main iTunes list is Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. How is that significant? Well Danger Zone reminds me of my old friend Kern, who loves anything to do with fighter planes.  He’s like a Korean Tom Clancy with a degree in Environmental
Science (not studies, he would want me to note that).  So in two seconds I’ve gone from thinking about a classic piece of literature to an old pal who loves his dinosaurs with feathers and his women from
Russia.  Music has that kind of effect on people.

The retrospective of Urban Moon, Banana Company, and Pinstripe Mystery is over now.  Thinking back on everything that happened in the pursuit of musical genius (or recognition?) has been enlightening.  When I
think about any particular recording, gig, or project it doesn’t seem so difficult. But when I put together the last 10+ years of effort its astounding.  I gave up lots of free time, money, and dignity to play
around 50 or so gigs, and to record two full length albums an EP and a bunch of random CDs.  I have also hosted 9 or 10 Mid-Summer Festivals of Peace and Tranquility, including one that raised over $400 for Heart Cry Restoration Ministries. It led me to consider the pros and cons of it all. I had a lot of fun rehearsing, recording, and performing, and I still do.  It could also be very emotionally draining (see Frosh Week 2003) and liberating all at the same time.

What does all this have to do with anything? Well as this blog goes forward and becomes a forum for both my thoughts and ideas, and those of others, it will become part of the journey. It can’t just be a marker of time, it has to be an active part of that.  I am saying all this to encourage those of you who read the blog to post comments in reaction to what I write. I would love to start a dialogue about the songs, sites, pictures, and whatever that I post on here.  I would also like your response to my words and ideas. Many years ago I had an email list that I used to spread ideas, but never achieved the collaborative model I hoped for. That is what a blog can do. So comment away!

You can also leave thoughts about the podcast and I will respond to them on there. To find the podcast click on the link on the right. A new post will be up in the next day or so. In case you missed it The Lights I See You In Shadow is now available. Click on Get the Album to download it.