Kathleen Edwards- Asking For Flowers (Rounder)

Featured — By on March 29, 2008 at 2:00 pm

On her third and latest album, Canadian country girl Kathleen Edwards confesses that “choosing my words carefully has never been my strength.” It can only be assumed that she is singing about her private life and not her artistic persona, as her first two albums were winners for their lyrical content as much as their music. Her previous record, 2005’s Back To Me, seemed like a let-down only because her debut, Failer, was such a breath of fresh northern air in the female singer/songwriter arena. Coming off at times like Sheryl Crow’s cooler Canuck cousin, Edwards has proven that she is more than just a face in the aforementioned crowd, and her latest, Asking For Flowers, shows that she has no plans to start blending in anytime soon. The first pitch of the album is a curveball- “Buffalo” employs a slow-building, Coldplay-ish piano/percussion/strings tension to produce the kind of song that Edwards’ contemporaries (Tift Merritt, Kasey Chambers, etc.) couldn’t pull off and wouldn’t have the brass to even try. Things get back to normal on “The Cheapest Key”, a dude-burner that includes the thorny couplet “A is for all the times I bit my tongue, B is for bulls**t and you fed me some.” Sadly, Flowers can’t maintain its momentum all the way through, as it fumbles to the finish line with back-to-back yawns (“Scared At Night” and “Goodnight California”), but one only needs to go back to track five to perk up again. “I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory” is the real prize this time out- a rare moment of cuteness from a woman who usually alternates between the profane and the refined. And while the Gretzky-checking lyric “You’re ’The Great One’, I’m Marty McSorley” pushes the corn envelope, it somehow manages to make Edwards even more lovable. Finally, there’s a chick who’s equally adept at baring her soul and talking hockey. Maybe she is just Asking For Flowers, but she can have our undivided attention as well.

RATING (1-10): 7.5

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