The Organ @ Festival Internacional de Benicassim

The Organ
The Organ @ FIB

. : : July 22nd, 2006 : : .

 

What if Morrissy was a lesbian, and the Smiths were an all-girl band from British Columbia, Canada?

 

Well, if you were a fan of indie rock music in the mid-2000s, you might not have to wonder very hard. Especially if you were exposed to The Organ.

 

Had you blinked, you might’ve missed it. If you hadn’t, you might have caught the band’s debut EP Sinking Hearts, or the follow up Grab That Gun (the latter essentially a re-recorded and expanded version of the EP).

 

Grab That Gun spent “more time on top of the Canadian campus-radio charts than any other record released that year” (Wikipedia), and with good reason. The band’s titular instrument heavily encompasses the retro-inspired new wave pop and frontwoman Katie Sketch‘s dour lyrics boldly pay tribute to the influences that made it feel like they could’ve been The Smiths for the Millennial generation.

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Kathleen Edwards @ Cabaret Music Hall

Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards @ Cabaret Music Hall

. : : April 3rd, 2003 : : .
 

It’s not every day you come across a new Kathleen Edwards live recording, let alone one that’s old enough to drink, vote, and be conscripted!

 

Yet, here’s a solid sounding recording of Kathleen at Cabaret Music Hall in Montreal — her first performance in the city, if you can believe it — way back in 2003. A fresh DAT transfer was released earlier this year by original taper stevemtl (and all credit goes to him).

 

The set list seems fairly standard for the time, but if even lightly scrutinized, there’s quite a bit too be impressed by. Remember: this is 2003 and Kathleen has only a single LP to her name. Yet here she is, generously performing well over a dozen songs and clocking in at almost 85-minutes.

 

Among the tracks you’d expect on a tour to promote Failer, you’ll find previews of songs that would end up on Back to Me (Copied Keys, Summerlong), perennial b-side Lazy Eye, some classic rock covers from AC/DC and Black Sabbath, and a song that I’d actually never even heard of before this recording, Shinny.

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Kathleen Edwards @ Massey Hall

Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards @ Massey Hall

. : : May 4th, 2018 : : .

Concert-going wise, I have a few regrets.

Many of them either before I was old enough to afford my own tickets or after I started a family of my own, and expendable income became a distant, laughable memory or the past.

From the latter category: Kathleen Edwards, seemingly out of nowhere, was advertised to have an opening slot for Matt Mays at Massey Hall.

Now, I’m not gonna lie: I have no idea who Matt Mays is. I’m an admittedly horrible Canadian. But I do know Massey Hall, and I’ve written here before about how it’s probably my least favourite venue in the city.

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Kathleen Edwards @ City Winery, NY

Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards @ City Winery

. : : January 31st, 2013 : : .

There’s something to be said about wineries.

Not content to merely be fancified drinking holes, North American wineries have diversified into premiere hot spots of arts and culture.

It is hardly any wonder that musicians, perhaps some of the greatest patrons of potent potables, seem to flock to them like moths to lamplight.

As a sober person, I can see and appreciate the appeal. It extends the relaxation and social aspects of concert-going throughout the afternoon. Or, if you’re there for the booze, you get to top your day off with a musical performance.

Because it’s not their primary purpose, these wineries are often smaller, intimate venues. The wine barrels give them warm, rustic ambiance. All-in-all, pretty great places for artist and fan to see a show.

City Winery is a chain of wineries throughout the US, and although I can’t claim to have visited one, “Keith from NY”‘s recording of Kathleen Edwards performing there in 2013 makes a strong case.

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Kathleen Edwards @ BBC Radio

Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards @ BBC

. : : June 7th, 2007 : : .

Bob Harris’ radio show for BBC Radio 2 co-sponsored the NXNE event that first introduced me to Kathleen Edwards. Harris was fond of the roots rock scene in Canada, and was known to promote it on the other side of the pond whenever possible.

It’s hard to say whether or not that concert — you know, the one that introduced me to Kathleen, Jim Bryson, Luke Doucet, Melissa McClelland, Justin Rutledge, Oh Susanna, etc. — would have still happened without his support and the Beeb’s agreement to record it for airing on his program. I like to imagine it wouldn’t have: it was a confluence of random happenstance that brought all these acts together, and me to that room.

I then have to give a lot of credit to Bob and the BBC for their part in my obsession with deep fondness of these performers and their music.

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Kathleen Edwards @ KCRW Studios

Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards @ KCRW

. : : March 24th, 2005 : : .

How are you all enjoying the all-Kathleen Edwards end of summer special?

Hopefully, you’re finding something new in all the something old. I have a few more up my sleeve, starting with this set Kathleen and band performed for LA radio station KCRW on their famed Morning Becomes Eclectic show back in 2005.

KCRW gave the band space for a generous 7-song set and interview and they took full advantage. The group played about half of Back To Me — an album that was only three weeks old at the time, but recently celebrated its 15th birthday — a note-worthy version of Somewhere Else where Kathleen and original writer Jim Bryson trade off vocals, and Unknown Legend, a great Neil Young cover!

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Kathleen Edwards @ National Public Radio

Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards @ NPR

One More Song The Radio Won’t Like?

How about a couple dozen Kathleen Edwards songs that the radio obviously did like?

Here’s a compilation of performances for NPR, presented in chronological order, as captured by Manillo and shared on DimeADozen. As they are all FM-sourced and originally professionally recorded, the sound quality is excellent throughout.

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Kathleen Edwards @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : April 23rd, 2008 : : .

Of course, I remember being charmed by Kathleen Edwards‘ set at NXNE for Six Shooter Records Outlaws & Gunslingers showcase in 2007. I was introduced to a lot of great new music that night, so I don’t remember quite what it was that lead me to investigate Kathleen’s recorded music specifically shortly thereafter.

But I do clearly remember queuing up the Asking For Flowers album for the very first time. I remember the intimacy of the sound of the piano bench creaking under the sparse but powerful chords of Buffalo. I remember the drums and guitar kicking in, matching intensity with a literal and metaphorical storm chasing the song’s protagonist across the Canada-US border.

I was instantly and irrevocably smitten.

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Kathleen Edwards @ Bonnaroo Festival 2012

Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards @ Bonnaroo 2012

. : : June 10th, 2012 : : .

I’m going to try something a little bit different.

Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of on-going live concerts, and my ever-shrinking budget, I’m going to start sharing some recordings made by other fans from time-to-time.

Where else to start, but with perennial favourite Kathleen Edwards, who is being celebrated upon the release of her first album in eight years, Total Freedom.

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