Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa Bluesfest’

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!