Kathleen Edwards: Hockey Skates
One of my favorite artists to have emerged into the alt-everything stew since the millenium, Canadian folk/alt-country singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards has a gorgeously tuned, slightly hoarse folkvoice, and an incredible knack for saying complicated things with few words, a couple of simple images, and not much more. Add an instinct towards thump and twang, and the perfect radio-ready folkpop production, and you've got a hitmaker whose music stays on the shuffle mix pretty much permanently.
Here, on one of three rising-star singles from her 2003 major label debut, she brings the weary weight of an age-old complaint -- same old bar, same old defensive pose, same old guy who loves the bar more than he loves her -- to new heights. This track is a little slower and a little more alt-Nashville than some of her others, but to me, the choice of pace and production is stunningly apropos: the dragging, exhausted voice, the wailing slide and fiddle, and the slow alt-country beat combine to make the song a perfect barroom soundtrack to its own narrative.