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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Canadian Grit
Our friends to the north in Canada have been known to give us some of the best artists to grace the pop music world, from the Guess Who to Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell. Kathleen Edwards, in my opinion, can be added to that ambit with her debut album FAILER, an album that must rank as one of the best for the year 2003.
Edwards has been compared more than a few...
Published on Dec 14 2003 by Erik North

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Damn catchy, if you don't let the grating cliches get to you
Forewarning: my first paragraph rambles a little bit, so skip off straight to paragraph 2 if you wanna to what I actually think of the album... Second, the album might be in the alt-country category; but it's rather rock-n-rollish, so if you got here accidentally, don't let the word "country" scare you: I am not a country music fan myself, but this is "alt-country". And...
Published on June 13 2003 by muffinplus


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Canadian Grit, Dec 14 2003
By 
Erik North (San Gabriel, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Failer (Audio CD)
Our friends to the north in Canada have been known to give us some of the best artists to grace the pop music world, from the Guess Who to Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell. Kathleen Edwards, in my opinion, can be added to that ambit with her debut album FAILER, an album that must rank as one of the best for the year 2003.
Edwards has been compared more than a few times to Lucinda Williams, which is heady praise indeed. But she is also her own woman, with an approach that combines alternative country and 1960s-style folk-rock along with stark modern lyrics, and a sardonic sense of humor. There's good social comment on "Six O'Clock News", and a big (but well-deserved) punch to American corporate radio on the ironically titled "One More Song The Radio Won't Like." There is also the use of one off-color word in the track "National Steel" which shows off a true acid side of this new Canadian gal.
Kathleen is someone well worth watching for in the future; hopefully, American radio stations, be they country or adult-alternative, will latch onto her.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Come On!....., April 9 2004
By 
J. Robbins (Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Failer (Audio CD)
Hey Kevin Donegan!
Her name is Kathleen, not Katherine!
Btw, great cd.......highly recommended!
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4.0 out of 5 stars If Lucinda Williams and Ryan Adams had a daughter together.., March 12 2004
By 
J. Sweeney (manchester, mo) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Failer (Audio CD)
She might be named Kathleen Edwards. I think the song writing style is a perfect blend of those two artists. She writes about failed relationships, not being accepted in the "boys" club that run so much of the music industry, not being able to get her songs played on the radio, having an affair with an older man, too much drink and drugs, and you have no doubt she has sufferred heartache, a thread that runs through most of Lucinda Williams songs. But wait...because she also strikes back. In the song "Westby" she sings "If you weren't so old, I'd probably keep you/ if you weren't so old I'd tell all my friends/ but I don't think your wife would like my friends." In "One More Song the Radio Won't Like," she sings "Reel it in and shut your mouth/reputations are in doubt/write a hit so I can talk you up/ no one likes a girl who won't sober up." Ryan Adams writes a lot like that-songs about being hurt, but he finds a way to poke a finger in the eye. She does that in virtually every song and she sings like she REALLY means it! The band is excellent; they play rock with a country edge. My favorite song is the opener "Six O'Clock News." It's a catchy tune steeped in irony-the boyfriend seems to snap, he's holed up, he's got a gun, and the one thing that might save him is hearing that his girlfriend is pregnant. Alas, she is not allowed near him to deliver the news, and he ends up dead, all over the evening news. Potent songwriting! Highly recommended, and I think this is an artist to watch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pry it from my cold, dead hands, Jan. 10 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Failer (Audio CD)
I absolutely love this CD. The more you listen, the better it gets. Lyrics are fresh, and range from wise, insightful, and humorous to truly gorgeous and evocative. I have a 10 disc player in my car, and this one has been in since it was released -- well, o-kay, it has been taken out, but only so I can listen to it elsewhere!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wondrous force in her own right, Nov. 25 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Failer (Audio CD)
This recording is an absolute joy and Kathleen Edwards is a wondrous discovery. This CD is remarkably consistent in its excellence. As others have noted, Ms. Edwards writes deeply moving and evocative lyrics with a maturity that belies her age, and she has a lovely voice.
Ignore the misleading comparisons to other musicians. I can just make out enough similarity in vocal styles to see why some hear a bit of Lucinda Williams, and there is one guitar solo that sounds like Crazy Horse, but that's about it. This is an artist with her own unique and delightful sound. On the 'Customers who bought this title also bought:' list that comes up on this page, I find her music much more similar to Tift Merritt than to Lucinda Williams, but I wouldn't say it sounds all that much like either.
The Lucinda comparisons verge on the ludicrous and miss the point. The themes of their songs and the way they use words are worlds apart, Edwards' voice is orders of magnitude more palatable and melodic, and the sound of her band is quite different from any that's ever backed Ms. Williams. It doesn't matter if Lucinda Williams fans prefer Lucinda - that's why they call them "Lucinda Williams fans"! Personally, I like Lucinda and I own all her CD's. But I never would have thought of comparing the two women until I read these reviews, and if I had to choose I'd trade all those Lucinda CD's for this one. The point is that you don't have to choose or compare. You can just enjoy sublime music.
The acoustic and emotional beauty of this music has kept Failer in my CD player for months, and the brilliant lyrical moments of truth in "Hockey Skates" and "Westby" are portents that Kathleen Edwards will continue to be a musical force to be reckoned with for years to come.
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4.0 out of 5 stars On Her Way, Nov. 13 2003
By 
James Carragher (New York) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Failer (Audio CD)
Well, I'm not ready to hand her the "Heir to Lucinda" title, but Kathleen Edwards has a future. She fronts a band that rocks country. She writes a good lyric story and sings in a fragile tough voice that sells the stories. Like Lucinda, a lot of those stories hammer or mourn old, and sometimes dead, boyfriends. Wisely, she doesn't waste a minute and frontloads Failer with her best. A song belied by its terrific upbeat guitars, Six O'Clock News is the downer story of a pregnant girlfriend watching as cameras cover her apparently bipolar lover's fatal confrontation with the police. One More Song the Radio Won't Like, a kiss off to a music scene schemer, is anything but radio unfriendly. Once heard you hum it all day. Hockey Skates -- she's from Canada of course -- is the weary ballad of an affair that's been going bad for so long that everything and everyone is worn out by it -- "I'm so tired of playing defense/and I don't even have hockey skates." Nothing else here quite matches that trio's quality, but it's all good, if occasionally repetitive, e.g. Maria=One More Song. Best of the rest are Mercury, Westby (older married man/young woman motel sleaze; "if you weren't so old/I'd probably keep you."), and Sweet Little Duck.
And if I didn't like this for any other reason, there's always the fact that the bassist is named Kevin McCarragher. Have to compare our Irish roots sometime.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For once, Rolling Stone was right..., Oct. 11 2003
This review is from: Failer (Audio CD)
I hesitated from buying this album at first due to Rolling Stone magazine's inflation of it--Let's just say that our tastes differ & it goes both ways. Finally, I broke down & bought the album & cannot remove it from my CD player. Not only does this album describe life as a northerner, but it was written with such honesty and rawness that you almost feel guilty for knowing so much about the characters she portrays. Much like Ryan Adams, Kathleen Edwards draws you in by releasing a few secrets. Soon, you're surrounded by extremely confessional images of "Wire cars and whiskey, bad debts, and dirty laundry." She's witty. The engineering was done well. Her voice is delicious. Musicianship is there. Buy the album.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Don't write it off at first., Sept. 16 2003
By 
Lawrence Barlow "lawrenceba549" (Saranac Lake, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Failer (Audio CD)
I bought this CD on impulse merely because of the song title "Hockey Skates." I had never heard of her, nor had I heard any of her music, but anyone who writes a song with that title deserves a listen. The first two tracks are fantastic songs that hook you. "Six O'Clock News" is a great opener, establishing a likeable sound with a wonderful chorus that has you humming it almost immediately. "One More Song the Radio Won't Like" is another instantly likeable song that will have you listening closer. Then you get to "Hockey Skates," which turned out to be a more sensitive song than I would have first thought that gives you an insight to what this woman can be. After this, the CD seems to fall off a bit on first listen, but I have found this initial reaction of mine deceiving. I had to listen a few more times before I caught on, but it is worth the extra effort. I especially have found myself liking "Westby" and "Lone Wolf", the former because of the story and the later for a great hook that gradually sinks in deeper with every listen. The CD just grows on you with each new listen, so give it a chance. Kathleen Edwards has the ability to go somewhere, and I am anxious to hear more from her in the future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars amazing debut, Sept. 3 2003
By 
Brent Chapman (indianapolis, in United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Failer (Audio CD)
some have complained about kathleen edwards' "unconventional" voice, so if you're not down with a little grit in your singers' voices, then go back to listening to celine dion and mariah. just take into account that edwards' voice kind of sneaks up on you, and before you know it you'll love the slightly off-kilter harmonizing. i love it, but my biases lie with "unconventional" singers like jay farrar, greg dulli, thom yorke, and believe it or not, *the* rap music...
anyway, ms. edwards has put together quite an album. i tend to skip "sweet little duck" and "lone wolf" (a little to "metaphor-y" for me) but they aren't bad songs, i'd just rather hear the others more.
to clarify another comment i see on the site, i don't think the lyrics are any more cliched or corny than anything else i've heard. maybe "lone wolf" veers into the corn field... but try to make an album without using a cliche; they're pretty much imbedded in popular music. i think the lyrics have a bit of an edge. switch it around and put it in a man's voice, and the content is pretty expected, but coming from a young woman, well, it's a different story.
the music is excellent. great backing band. i especially like "12 bellevue" with the horns and the baritone sax. very nice. "six o'clock news" rocks as well. you have to listen to this stuff, it's great.
in conclusion, this record easily makes my top 5 for the year. it's fresh, pretty catchy, and doesn't get old after a few listens. if you don't mind a singer who doesn't have a cookie-cutter voice, and like country-tinged rock, i'm confident you'll appreciate kathleen edwards' "failer."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Who'd Have Thought?, Aug. 7 2003
By 
Richard Nelson (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Failer (Audio CD)
Who'd have thought that a newcomer would outdo Lucinda Williams? Yet that's just what Kathleen Edwards has done--this is the record Lucinda wishes she had released this year. Nothing against World Without Tears, but this is the CD you'll reach for when you're headed for your car, and you'll be singing along the whole ride.
But that makes this album sound petty, and it isn't. It's moody and deep and complex, and it clearly comes from the heart. Edwards' talent is taking what are seemingly specific situations and shaping them into stories that the listener can make his or her own. Six O'Clock News, the unbelievable opening track, is undeniably catchy, but it also invites the listener into the story of a love who can't quite keep it together for the sake of his girl. And if you've ever been in a tough relationship and thought about leaving, I defy you to remain emotionless through the closer, Sweet Little Duck. Listen with headphones for the telltale line at the start of the song...
Failer? Far from it. This is a top-five album of 2003 without a doubt.
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Failer
Failer by Kathleen Edwards (Audio CD - 2002)
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