Monday, December 29, 2003

I'm not sure if the following Lucinda Williams/Cal Ripken analogy is valid, considering Cal played almost 1000 consecutive games in the time it took Lucinda to complete one album, but I think it gets my point across...

#4: Kathleen Edwards - Failer

This album is the one that I couldn't stop listening to during the first two months of 2003, and it still sounds like fresh, albeit straightforward, Americana as I revisit it late in the year. There is no doubt that Kathleen Edwards wears her Lucinda Williams influence on her sleeve. There is also no question that Failer is a far superior effort to Lucinda's mediocre (at best) World Without Tears, despite the latter's inclusion on many critics year end best-of lists. I guess this is the alt-country equivalent of Cal Ripken continually being voted to start in the all-star game, despite the fact that players such as Travis Fryman and Troy Glaus were more deserving of the honor.

One criticism that Kathleen Edwards has received is that hers is a somewhat forced authenticity, but I'm still impressed by her cleverly biting lyrics in songs such as "Six O'Clock News" ("You spend half your life trying to turn the other half around"), "One More Song the Radio Won't Like" ("No one likes a girl who won't sober up"), "Hockey Skates" ("Going down in the same old bar and I don't even order anymore"), and "12 Bellevue" ("I was thinking about drinking my way through the day"). Alright, so I'm enamored with drinking references, but that's what turned me on to Uncle Tupelo and the entire alt-country (or whatever you want to call it) genre in the first place. Not that I'm comparing Kathleen Edwards to Uncle Tupelo...oh, no, no, no. That would be like comparing Travis Fryman's career to Cal Ripken's.

Anyway, if you're not convinced of her genuineness, check her out live. That should do the trick.

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