. : : September 16th, 2008 : : .
My first exposure to Kathleen Edwards was at North By North-East (NXNE) in June of 2007. OK, that was a lie — my real first exposure to Kathleen was in her duet with Jim Cuddy on his too-cute-to-be-camp song Married Again. However, NXNE was my first exposure to Kathleen’s solo work. Really, I only went because I wanted to see Blue Rodeo at a venue smaller than Massey Hall or The Molson Amphitheatre (the band’s two usual haunts), and Lee’s Palace was a great candidate. The fact that I ended up getting to see Blue Rodeo play an anniversary show at The Horseshoe Tavern the following winter is neither here nor there. At the time, it was a big deal; I bought my $35 NXNE bracelet just for this set, and lined up outside the venue some three hours before the doors were set to open (and another ten hours before Blue Rodeo would be taking the stage). I was a little surprised when I was all by myself for most of that wait. After all, Blue Rodeo is kind of a big deal around these parts, and even a NXNE bracelet didn’t guarantee entrance. However, you will never hear a breath of complaint escape my lips, because that night exposed me to some fantastic Canadian bands (many local) that I may have never otherwise: Oh Susanna, Luke Doucet, Jim Bryson, and of course, Kathleen Edwards, who I’ve continued to actively follow since.
The NXNE performance was a preview to her album, Asking For Flowers. The next time I saw Kathleen play was at the horrible Phoenix Theatre in promotion of the same album. I didn’t take that performance as friend and fellow-taper Dave Caley was in the audience doing a better job than I could ever do. But when a last-minute announcement was made that Kathleen would be playing a special War Child benefit show at the Dakota Tavern for the low donation price of $20, I was sure to make sure I got there early enough to secure one of the limited spots.
I was amazed at how small the Dakota Tavern is. The tavern is barely bigger than a large living room, with a long bar against one wall and four or five tables scattered along the other. In the far corner, almost as if an after thought, is a cramped stage warmly lit with strings of crisscrossed Christmas lights. I could barely wipe the smile of anticipation off my face: it was sure to be a special night. Kathleen and Co. brought the goods to this intimate atmosphere, and luckily, the fantastic sound matched the spectacular atmosphere. The night was a real treat, and one I won’t soon forget.
As with all my MiniDisc recordings, there’s a handful of bloops and brief drop-outs. The crowd was chatty, and you can hear them talking unabashedly throughout Kathleen’s set, but the music comes through loud and clear.
- Six O’Clock News
- Oil Man’s War
- Asking For Flowers
- In State
- I Can’t Give You Up
- I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory
- The Cheapest Key
- Sure As Shit
- Hockey Skates
- Back To Me
- I’m On Fire [w/ Luke Doucet) [Springsteen]
Thanks to Kathleen Edwards, War Child, and the beautiful Dakota Tavern. Please download and distribute this recording freely, and support the bands by buying their albums, merchandise and concert tickets when they perform in your town. If you have an extra couple of dollars kicking around, please consider sending them to War Child, which is a great and worthy cause.