Kathleen Edwards plays Magic Bag

By Web Master

By OLVIA OLSON

Contributing Reporter

Kathleen Edwards is not your average singer-songwriter.

While the term usually calls to mind the over-earnest, stripped-down,

solo-acoustic and generally female borderline folksinger,, Edwards and this

stereotype have little in common.

This difference was made undeniably evident at her April 6th

show at Ferndale’s The Magic Bag. Equipped with a full band, the Canadian

musician presented her canon of compositions with passion and power and fierce

fidelity to the album cuts.

Her lilting vocals laid comfortably across the ethereal bed

of sound produced by the band’s largely electric instruments, a displeasing

note never reverberating once across the worthy venue’s walls. This is possibly

the most impressive aspect of Edwards’s songwriting — her ability to create personal

and humble lyrics that hold up well against a sweeping, lush musical

background.

Edwards’s passionate stage presence was contagious, and the

playful rapport shared with her band members was made evident by their lively

exchanges and lines broken by laughter, particularly during the performance of

fan favorite “Six o’clock News.” The entire show exuded the powerful joy of

performing live and the particular joy of performing together.

Defying the folksinger stereotype, Edwards accompanied

herself with an electric guitar during her solo performance of the paralyzingly

tragic “Alicia Ross.” The full band’s rendition of “Mercury” began understated

and acoustic, but built into a crescendo of nostalgic rock that revealed the

group’s ability to delve into Cardinals-esque jams onstage.

In fact, Edwards’s entire collection of songs suggests that

she and alt.-country heroes such as Ryan Adams and Sam Beam worship many of the

same musical gods. While she hasn’t yet shared the same level of fame, strong

performances such as this prove her worthy of being cast among this extraordinary

group of young singer-songwriters. 

Opening for Edwards was Luke Doucet and the White Falcon, a

pleasantly surprising group who produced boot-stomping music that was pop

enough to be catchy, folk enough to be substantial, and original enough to be

rock and roll.

The most striking element of their music was their flawless harmonies,

particularly the melding of Doucet’s vocals with wife and bandmate Melissa

McClelland’s. Theirs was one of those rare sets during which the desire to

appreciate the live performance combats with the nagging thought, “I hope

they’re this good on the album.”