Asking for Flowers
On her 2002 debut, Failer, Kathleen Edwards introduced herself as a mouthy boozehound with an alt-country bent. On Back to Me, she reflected on a life changed by success. Asking for Flowers, co-produced by the artist and Jim Scott (Tom Petty), sounds bigger and smaller than both. Bookended by epics Buffalo and Goodnight, California, the songs start so intimately--- you hear piano pedals being stepped on---that their lush builds are engrossing surprises. Theres some pure country (The Cheapest Key, Run) and a handful of songs that weave in larger issues---a first. Edwards, a vocal Toronto hater, moved from the city to Hamilton after a personal incident with gun violence, which resonates more universally in the form of Alicia Ross and Oh Canada. The former takes the POV of the Markham woman murdered by her neighbour, an understated song in which Edwards asks Rosss mother, Was your darkest day as dark as this one? The latter references the Boxing Day 2005 shooting of Jane Creba, ultimately condemning the whole city: There are no headlines when a black girl dies/Its not the lack of a sense, its called ambivalence. On the title track she sings, Dont tell me youre too tired/10 years Ive been working nights. That decade has produced some stellar songs. If Edwards grows at her current rate, shell be an artist for the ages.