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Monday 24 June 2024

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Total Freedom – Kathleen Edwards

Sep 4, 2020

Bursting onto the Canadian music scene with her debut album in 2003, Kathleen Edwards’ popularity quickly spread with a series of successful music releases that were immediately recognisable from her trademark vocal. Then, in 2014, she opened a coffee bar and announced she was taking a breather from music. Of late, she has been creeping back onto the music scene and, now, a new album has emerged, ‘Total Freedom’.

The album’s title is taken from the ‘Birds On A Feeder’ track, a gentle but joyous celebration of her escape from the personal problems that haunted her. Listened to alongside tracks with a rocking edge like ‘Hard On Everyone’, it’s patently obvious that this collection of new songs shows that she’s retained her ability to give light and shade to her music. It’s a welcome feature that was always part of the appeal of her earlier records.

The record offers a deep dive reflection on how personal relationships can be good and bad news. Whether that’s with her dog (‘Who Rescued Who’) or a friend met through her coffee shop (‘Ashes To Ashes’). Both having passed but offering valuable lessons in life. ‘Take It With You When You Go’ is Edwards looking to close the door on her painful relationship memories whilst ‘Simple Math’ tells of a reminder that friendship is also a great healer. 

Surrounded by musician friends in the studio like bandmate, guitarist and long time collaborator Jim Bryson, the result is an album full of strong melodies, pop hooks and tasteful guitar work. She’s clearly been through some tough times but the creation of this record has been a cathartic experience for her. It’s a big welcome back to Kathleen Edwards who has not only built some personal resilience through the work on this record but also got straight back on track with her high quality songwriting.

Steve Henderson

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