Monday, May 19, 2008

We Used to Blog about Girls Who Played Guitars

Sometimes we need cliches back. It's a shame that I can't say, "Kathleen Edwards rocked Saturday night at her Sings Like Hell concert at the Lobero," and have that mean anything anymore. But it does and she did. Leading a crack four piece band including her husband, guitarist Colin Cripps, she went for the jugular on every song, to the point where she pulled back about 2/3 of the way through, sent her band off-stage, and said something to the effect of, "I'm going to do a couple of songs acoustic--I think we're blowing you out a bit." Of course, she brought two band members back after one solo song.

But I'm not complaining. She tends to get lumped in with the folk-country-rock women like Lucinda Williams, but like Williams, she has a love for texture, for guitar, for a nifty riff. And that voice of hers, with its wonderful weariness that carries the dusks of many roads, whether she's actually lived them or just got there through her brilliantly detailed writing. This is a woman who named the second song of her first CD "One More Song the Radio Won't Like," who opened this show with the cut "Mercury," and its first line, "Want to go get high," which was a perfect invitation to the evening, as it turned out. That's exactly what she ended up doing for the audience, particularly as you just don't get to see a woman lead a rock band enough. You can't beat tough chicks who play guitars. Especially if they look a bit like Cate Blanchett.

That didn't mean the evening was one straight grind of guitar, though. That acoustic number was a lovely version of "Scared at Night," a song for her dad that's up there with Billy Bragg's "Tank Park Salute," and she nodded to obvious influence and fellow Canadian Neil Young with a fine cover of "Only Love Can Break Your Heart."

Then for an encore, she took out her violin again (turns out that was her childhood instrument) and dueted with husband Cripps on an intro over some sinuous bass that to these ears seem to be another Young classic, "Cortez the Killer," and to get truly musically geeky, sort of like that live Matthew Sweet version from the bonus CD of Girlfriend. But it's actually her song "Goodnight, California," the close of her fine new CD Asking for Flowers, one of the rise and fall, build and release numbers, and it certainly capped the night in a grand manner. Which, of course, she knocked away with more rock, as she ripped through the I'll-win-you-back-tune "Back to Me," singing it with such conviction no one could doubt she's got moves she hasn't used.

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't say "Six O'Clock" news has to be one of the best songs of the past 10 years. Especially all gut-sied up live.

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Blogger Trekking Left said...

What a great show. Thanks for the write-up.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Malachi Constant said...

Great review, great show, great artist! I usher at the bowl and on an artistic level this ranks up there with anything this year, including Fogerty, Buble, Duran, et al. Get the album "Asking For Flowers". She performed most of it Saturday nite, including the great "Goodnight, California" , "Scared At Night" about her dad, and of course "Asking For Flowers". Hope she comes back real soon.
Another treasure brought to us by Peg Jones and Sings Like Hell.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous paperwight said...

Sweet Maximo Park reference.

12:50 PM  
Blogger George said...

Thanks for the thanks, TL and Malachi. And Paperwight, thanks for getting the reference.

12:55 PM  

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