Back to Me
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Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. In State|
|2. Back To Me|
|3. Pink Emerson Radio|
|4. Independent Thief|
|5. Old Time Sake|
|6. Summer Long|
|7. What Are You Waiting For|
|9. Somewhere Else|
|10. Copied Keys|
|11. Good Things|
The standout cuts on this follow-up to Kathleen Edwards's highly praised debut, Failure, serve notice that the Canadian artist has no intention of remaining a cult favorite in the States. The opening "In State" evokes the anthem-like sweep of Tom Petty's "Refugee," complete with signature organ by the Heartbreakers' Benmont Tench, though its lyric of a prison-bound paramour smacks of déjà vu, Failure having opened with a similar narrative. The propulsive title track, with its irresistible double-entendre hook, deserves to be Edwards's breakthrough hit, while the yearning "Old Time Sake" and the buoyant yet bittersweet "Summerlong" expose a disarming tenderness underlying her tough-chick bravado. Over the course of the album, too much of the midtempo material sounds too much the same, more inspired lyrically than musically, failing to sustain the momentum of the opening tracks. The stripped-down intimacy of "Away" will likely rekindle comparisons to Lucinda Williams, but this artist sounds eager to outgrow those. --Don McLeese
Influences and Contemporaries
Whiskeytown, Strangers Almanac
Whiskeytown, Faithless Street
Sarah Harmer, You Were Here
Sarah Harmer, All of Our Names
Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
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Her songwriting remains sharp and melodic, exhibiting a Neil Young-like ability to write concise, flowing lyrics and express deep emotions via simple, effective melodies. Her singing, however, has taken especially great strides. Playing and singing live for the past year has done wonders for her technique, for her pitch is more accurate, her phrasing more engaging, and her timbre far more rich than before. Instrumentally she gathers yet another great band, this one spearheaded by one of Canada's great guitarists, Colin Cripps (formerly of Crash Vegas, now married to Edwards, and also the producer on this record), whose expansive, ringing tones and innovative parts add immensely to Edwards' palette. Like Jon Brion, Cripps has a knack for playing unusual yet perfectly comfortable parts within simple songs, augmenting but never interfering with the central melody or the vocals. Witness rock-out title track "Back to Me", where the electric guitar brilliantly emulates a fiddle, the simple, wailing slide guitar on "What Are You Waiting For?", and the guitar-as-string-section chimes of "Somewhere Else".
But as great the sonic backdrop is, Edwards remains the star, with a voice that's lonely, optimistic, worldly and vulnerable at the same time. Lead track "In State"'s restrained croon is magnetic, married to a gently insistent beat and Cripps' slithering guitar lines; the Byrds-like 12-string guitars and gentle balladry of "Summerlong" are seductive; "Copied Keys" mines one of Edwards' (and Neil Young's) favourite themes, wanderlust, backed by a naked, picked acoustic guitar line and elemental string and slide parts; "What Are You Waiting For?" is the best uptempo track, with its heartbroken guitar hook and Edwards' soulful singing. But the best track, hands down, is "Pink Emerson Radio", a spacious ballad where Edwards' voice is simply angelic, hitting a wrenching high range she's never explored, and a sad melody that cuts straight to the heart. The song also features her best lyrics to date, a collage of imagery linked by the heartbreak of abandonment -- easily the best entry in Edwards' already impressive songbook.
If you liked Failer, you're likely to have grabbed this record already without having heard a note. This record is essential listening for anyone interested in rock, folk, or country styles; even if you're not, give it a chance and you'll find some of the most emotionally resonant songwriting, singing and playing around.
The album starts very strong with back to back rockers, then suffers its only missteps with "Pink Emerson Radio" and the too-precious "Independent Thief." Press on, listener! The weary tales of "Old Time Sake" and the hopeful "Summerlong" get things moving again, "What Are You Waiting For?" is a rollicking taunt, and "Away" is a beauty of a ballad.
This album features an incredibly strong closing trifecta. Leading off with the only non-Edwards song on the album, "Somewhere Else," we move to the record's standout, "Copied Keys," which finds Kathleen musing on the pain of moving to a new place for love and feeling like a tagalong to someone else's life, backed by a trembling guitar that somehow fits the emotions of the song perfectly. Closer "Good Things" sounds upbeat and carries a positive message, but ends the album with a broken heart.
If you haven't listened to Edwards before, buy this or Failer and try her out. And if you liked Failer, you'll like this, too. Give it a little time to grow on you!
The CD starts off strong with the track entitled "In State." This is then followed by the very self-assured title track "Back To Me." Wow, this title track is powerful! I love these great lyrics: "I've got ways to make you sing my songs/Ones I ain't written yet/I've got lights you've never seen/I've got moves I've never used/I've got ways to make you come/Back to me." The musical arrangement here is strong to support her statement and it is equally well written. At the other end of the spectrum are two songs, "Independent Thief," and "Away" deal with incredible heartache and deeply wounded feelings.
Edwards is supremely talented; I own all her CDs (there's a third "live" CD already out even though Amazon and others sometimes mistake this for a "sophomore" CD). Kathleen's voice always feels so welcome and beautiful to my ears, just like that of a special confidant I can really trust. Her honestly, raw emotion, natural power and compelling spirit always make for a superb album. I ache for more from this woman and this CD will hook you for sure! The quality of the sound is great so you can really hear how well Kathleen emotes to her audience. On this CD Kathleen truly reaches out as she has before. I find her to be refreshingly honest about what are actually common human emotions and experiences on this CD. This is a great CD to get if you're new to Edwards' work-and a must have if you're already a fan like I am!
While almost all the lazy writers in the music business have compared Edwards to Lucinda Williams because it's an abbreviated way to highlight similarities they share--a girl's beauty, an edgy toughness and, of course, electric guitars--neither songwriter quite deserves it. Edwards' output has an organic quality Williams simply can't touch. You'll hear sharp distinctions between guitar and bass, for instance, whenever and wherever Williams plays. Edwards, though, manages to blur instrumental lines until the mix is whole and even intimate, giving "Back To Me" an almost nostalgic flavor reminiscent of some of the best progressive country and folk rock soundscapes of the 1970s. Jackson Browne's "Late For The Sky" may come to mind should listeners find themselves in some of Edwards' lonelier spaces.
Edwards also carries a soft voice through several hard tunes. That's not easy to do. "In State" is where she chews out some guy for acting a little too cavalier, for trying to grease his wheels too liberally, and like any woman worth the trouble, Edwards slices off the choice words even the toughest buzzards are loath to hear: "You wouldn't even be yourself if you wern't telling a lie." It wouldn't hurt so much if her voice wasn't so pretty.
And "Pink Emerson Radio"? That one sent a wind blowing through the drapes of a certain past I barely remember and right up my spine. I've been in old houses just like the song sounds. I've caught girlfriends, too, when they're alone and contemplating little trinkets that mean so much to them, many of which, of course, had nothing at all to do with me. But it's alright. I've treasured a couple of things.
Strong lyrics, never forced or trite, build through every song--without any of the flashiness or ostentatiousness some of the more "Nashvillian" rockers push on their crowds because the authenticity didn't come through when it was supposed to. Moods change, in an Edwards song, the band sometimes kicks in like a rattling freight train just starting to move, heavy on a trestle, but always because Edwards obviously has been allowed to remain close to her music, and to the sound in her head. Far too much music in today's declining sales climate has been drained of such qualities. Edwards, however, is part of a quietly growing movement which may eventually inject a little reality into a country music world that's starting to flirt with the emblems of hip-hop of all things. But the bling of Kathleen Edwards is in her heart. Even if she's not from Texas. God bless her.
The biggest problem with Edwards' debut album, Failer was the prevelance of grunge guitars which tended to drown out her sweet soprano voice. However, this album managed to find its way around that problem with better production, a stronger voice and a much more stripped instrumental sound. The first of these solutions is represented by In State, a song that serves as a prequel to "6 O'Clock News," but in which the producer definately prsently her vocals in a much different and more pleasing manner. The second is showcased by a stunning vocal performance in "Independant Theif" which finds Edward's stomping and snorting in rare form. However, it is the final solution that makes up most of the album, and which makes the album so wonderful. No longer hidden behind the grungy riffs of "Maria" Edwards is able to find new emotional nuances on songs like Summerlong and Good Things.
A step forward in maturity and musicality, Kathleen Edwards managed to avoid the Sophomore Slump by improving on an already standout debut album