“And you can’t even make up my mind/Another song the radio won’t like.”
If you ask me, and I don’t really know why you would seeing as how I’m not very smart and a renowned prevaricator to boot, Kathleen Edwards is the Queen of Alt-Country. “Ah,” but I can hear you saying, “Lucinda Williams is the Queen of Alt-Country.” And you might be right. So let’s just say they’re the co-Queens of Alt-Country, and avoid lots of useless bickering. It’s not like the position comes with a crown or bejeweled scepter or anything. Hell, people don’t even have to bow in your presence.
One could question Edwards’ bona fides, seeing as how she didn’t grow up in Texas or Mississippi or Tennessee or any of your good-for-nothin’-but-producing-country-stars Dixie states (just joshin’). She’s Canadian, for Christ’s sake, and spent her formative years overseas, the daughter of a diplomat. In short, she’s about as authentically “country” as Nico, and I suspect she’s never been within a mile of a three-legged pig. But who cares? Country is a state of mind, and to get to that state you don’t have to drive a battered Ford pickup down any gravel roads way off the interstate, where the roadhouses (and I mean all of them) have neon signs with one letter on the fritz. All you need is a guitar, a couple of albums by Loretta Lynn, and an attitude.
And Edwards has attitude in spades. The first song of her songs I ever heard was “One More Song the Radio Won’t Like.” It was so lovely, yet simultaneously scathing, that I became an immediate fan. She had it all: great songs with great lyrics, and the voice of a bruised but unbowed angel. It didn’t hurt that the album it came off was called Failer, which led me to believe, true or not, that she shared my belief that we humans were placed on earth to fail, and fuck up things real good. I mean I know it’s just a theory, but you have to admit that the history of our species backs me up.