Kathleen Edwards | Voyageur

Zoe/Rounder (2011) 
By ANNIE ZALESKI  |  January 17, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars


It's unfair, even sexist, to assume the expanded sonic palette of Kathleen Edwards's fourth album, Voyageur, is due to the presence of Justin Vernon. The Bon Iver majordomo, who also happens to be Edwards's boyfriend, co-produced the record — and though he contributes backing vocals and instrumental color, the indie-leaning direction of the album suggests that the Canadian singer-songwriter is coming into her own. Voyageur places Edwards in the category of Dar Williams, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Suzanne Vega, storytellers who aren't bound by a specific genre. Piano-accented introspection (the sparse acoustic folk of "House Full of Empty Rooms," the string-creased dirge "A Soft Place To Land") alternates with rock-oriented fare (the Neil Young storms of "Mint," the strummy guitar and flashes of bar-band grit on "Empty Threat"), with some buzzy pop thrown in (the loopy mash-note "Sidecar"). Edwards is supported by a huge cast of characters; her own touring band, Norah Jones, the Long Winters' John Roderick, and long-time collaborator Jim Bryson all appear. But it all coalesces around her confident, pastel-watercolor vocal delivery — whether she's examining the wreckage of a relationship or rediscovering the comfort of another person.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Kathleen Edwards, Kathleen Edwards,  More more >
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