Even from a land rich in musical minerals, Ottawa's Kathleen Edwards is the rarest of gems. What's rare is that she shines more brightly as the years wear on, and more facets revealed. Her brilliance is in full effect here.
Not so many years, it's true. Asking For Flowers is her third record, cut in her twenty ninth year. Many of the tracks were recorded with the highest echelon of L.A. greats, and that was a brilliant stroke that needed to be tried, and was true. Don Heffington on drums, Bob Glaub on bass, Greg Liesz on electric guitar and steel, Benmont Tench on keys--better than that cannot be found. And the bass track by Sebastian Steinberg on "Goodnight California" is a thing of pulsing beauty.
Canadian compadres also figured heavily in the proceedings, especially Kathleen's guitarslinger husband Colin Cripps, but also another famous Ottawan, Jim Bryson, on guitar, piano, and vocals on a trio of cuts. Paul Reddick on harmonica, Gary Craig on drums, Bob Packwood on keys, and Justin Rutledge on vocals round out the Canadian contingent.
Edwards has that pioneer woman kind of beauty, and a pure honest voice suited to the kind of narrative she explores in this third outing. She moved here beyond speaking of or even from her own experience into the realm of telling the stories of others she knows or conjures, she says "from a true place in my heart."
Oh my God, when the intro of "I Make The Dough You Get The Glory" revs up, every single thing I ever liked about country rock (before they coined the hopeless misnomer Americana) comes whistling right through my soul and sends chills up my spine via the phenomenal steel chops of the celestial Greg Liesz and the SoCal rhythm section recalling how it's done correctly, in case you forgot. Actually, this song is the most satisfying marriage of the factions, since Cripps' crackling guitar and Packwood's waves of Hammond magic are absolutely top shelf.
We love this artist's music, and never more than we do here. Her heroes are no better than she is, not anymore. Sometimes to tell the stories of others, we have to reach deeper inside ourselves than we ever have before. A must have record, if you care. • Frank Goodman