Six Questions For ... Kathleen Edwards


Kathleen Edwards will probably be asking for Senators/Penguins score updates from the Birchmere stage tonight.

The Canadian Invasion isn't limited to indie-rock bands with too many members. Ottawa native Kathleen Edwards has been a fixture on the alt-country scene since she was 24 when her 2003 debut album "Failer" presented her as an accomplished tunesmith and thoughtful lyricist. "Back to Me" and this year's "Asking for Flowers" have only enhanced her reputation. Her latest album finds Edwards less feisty (no Canadian pun intended) and more thoughtful, as she tackles some serious issues relating to her country on songs like "Oh Canada" and "Alicia Ross." Still, she's not so serious that she can't find time to namecheck the fourth-most penalized player in NHL history.

Edwards plays tonight at the Birchmere.

Compared to your first two albums you seem a bit more mellow on "Asking for Flowers." Is this just a natural process as you get to the end of your 20s?
It wasn't really an overly-conscious decision to do or not do anything. I just made the record I wanted to make. There were definitely times on the road during the "Failer" and "Back to Me" tours that I wished there were more dynamics to what I was doing. I would go see people play these beautifully quiet shows and wish that I was able to have that kind of dynamic in my live show as well. One of the first songs we recorded for the record was "Asking for Flowers" and there were definitely times where I talked to Jim (Scott, producer) and said, "I feel like I'm singing this too girly." Or, "Is this too sweet?" And he said, "I'm not sure I know what you mean. You're singing it the way that you sing it. That's how your voice sounds and that's the song you wrote and everyone's playing great and the sounds are great." And I just realized, "Oh yeah, I'm just sounding the way I sound."

Let's talk a little about your song "Oh Canada." It's a political song but it's about ... Canada. Don't you know that Canadian musicians are only supposed to write songs about American politics?
You know, I really don't feel like that's my place. I'm really not comfortable doing that. I'm a Canadian citizen, I'm not an American citizen. I don't vote in the U.S. I love being in the U.S., it's not that I don't have my own personal code of what I think is right and wrong. I just think, why would I write a song about American politics? That song came from a place where the truth of it is, I think Canadians have become very complacent in their own shortcomings. And I include myself in that statement because things always seem so much worse in other places. And I think that's a very dangerous and slightly self-righteous road to walk down. I'm taking ownership of being a citizen of my country and not put my opinions on someone else.

You reference noted NHL enforcer Marty McSorley on "I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory." Is he your favorite hockey goon, or just a convenient rhyme for the word glory?

It kind of just fell out of my mouth. I was writing the song and I was trying to think of a hockey reference. I was singing along and all of a sudden the words, "You're the Great One, I'm Marty McSorley" literally just fell out of my mouth. I laughed so hard when that happened that I figured I had to keep it.

What's the most annoying stereotype that you have to deal with being a female singer-songwriter?
I find it really annoying when I get judged for the clothes that I wear or the fact that I wear makeup or don't wear makeup or that everyone has this perception that I'm "one of the boys." Sometimes I put up with a lot of really unbelievably sexist comments. I don't mean it like I'm this bra-burning feminist of 2008. Sometimes I'm just really confused by some of the things that I feel that I'm being held to that guys never get held to. It's pretty lame.

Like...
Like being told that I used to be "one of the boys" but now I wear makeup and turtlenecks and my music sucks because of it. Well, I actually don't own a turtleneck and I wore makeup when my first album came out, so what the [expletive] does that mean?

You're playing at the Birchmere, which is known for its signs on the table that tell people to basically shut up during the show. Do you ever get frustrated with people talking while you're playing?
The only time it bothers me is when it's someone in the front row and everyone else behind them isn't talking. I don't care if you want to talk, just go stand in the back. But I'm always up for a good heckle. I'm definitely pro-heckle. I used to heckle people all the time when I was in the audience. So I don't mind people heckling me. I can usually take it. There's nothing that anyone could really say that would upset me at a show. You paid $20 to come see me, you can say whatever you want. I don't have to like it but you can say whatever you want.

By David Malitz |  April 14, 2008; 11:24 AM ET Interviews
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sounds like revolution at the shush-mere tonight!

i loved "six o' clock news", liked "hockey skates", and then just kind of got bored with her ... clearly has a lot of potential though

Posted by: HoyaParanoia | April 14, 2008 12:35 PM

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