Posted by: Cory | April 18, 2008

Review: Kathleen Edwards @ Headliners – 4/17

Kathleen Edwards came to Louisville’s Headliners on Thursday. Opening the night was Dan Wilson, frontman for Semisonic. I hadn’t realized who he was (despite really enjoying his set) until he played college radio classic “Closing Time”. I have a new found appreciation for this track after his brief explanation of what caused him to write it. Just before playing it, he laughed about the hypothetical story of the songwriter in a band having a child (“Jr.”) and the inevitability that the next song written would be about that child. He explained the roller coaster of hypothetical emotions of the band members from being happy for the artist to the dread of the ensuing song that’d run dangerously close to being cheesey but would indubitably be the singer’s favorite song. In fact, he even gave us a few hypothetical verses, starting with “Well, I planted a seed…”. He explained that he had a child, and to avoid the potential trap noted above, he decided to disguise the song about bringing his own child into the world. That was how he came to write “Closing Time.” What was funny was that he explained a few allusions within the song, such as “this room won’t be open ’til your brothers or your sisters come” as “this womb won’t be open”. It was interesting to hear this interpretation of his own song, because going over the lyrics with this in mind makes it all feel so blatant…but makes for a great twist of a archetypical song.  Dave closed with “All Kinds”, with the crowd singing “Running All Around, All Around All Kinds of Beautiful”.

Kathleen Edwards took the stage next, dawning an old and very beat up guitar and and an assortment of harmonicas behind her. Hearing Kathleen took me back to driving through Canada last summer where listening to the local radio stations surprised me with the amount of country influence I found there. Kathleen could have only been from Canada or Nashville.  That said, it wasn’t country music…it was rock with a couple of country twinges, but not really alt-rock or alt-country either.  When she came onto the stage she said she was going to do a few quite ones first because “You’ve got to warm up a little bit before you bust a nut”.  She was incredibly personable and beautiful on stage.  I expected more of a Feist appearance from her promo material, but found more of a college girl who was very spunky and fun on stage.  She played with her band mates really well also, dueting guitars & the crowd loved it.  She was drinking Woodford & mentioned it was her favorite and that coming to KY is like coming to her beverage mecca.

A few songs later, she told us the back story to McSorley.  She’d written it about her friend from her hometown in Ottawa.  She claims he was the talented one, and that she was his Marty McSorley.  That name fell deaf for most of the crowd, except someone who yelled out “The Enforcer”.  Apparently he was essentially the bodyguard of Wayne Gretzky.  Her record label wanted her to make a video to go along with the song, but she conditioned it on it being about hockey (instead of her floating in a field, as she figured they’d want).  McSorley agreed to do the video and and is going to be her enforcer, just before her husband throws her into the penalty box for the rest of the video.

A few songs later on “Scared” the band went off stage so that she could sing a beautiful song to her father about growing up and all that he had done for her, from being scared of shadows on the walls to the feelings of seeing him die.  From there, the show turned completely rock, the crowd went nuts and the keyboardist went rock star on guitar, pulling windmills.  Kathleen brought up a violin and got back on her harmonica and told more stories (about personalized vacuum tubes).  After finishing “Oil Man’s War” she apologized that it had sucked, and blamed it on feeling all “Cat Power-y”.

For the encore, Dan Wilson came back on stage & performed one of his own songs with Kathleen that she claims as one of her favorites, “Secret Smile”.  The second song of the encore, “Goodnight” was an incredibly sexual song & there were girls all around making  out.  All in all, the set was really entertaining and my only disappointment was that more people didn’t show up to give her the attention she deserved…she was just the sort of thing that should go over really well in Louisville…

For the setlist & loads of photos,

In State
Waiting For
Asking for Flowers
Copied Keys
You’re the Great One, I’m Marty McSorley
Oh Canada
I Can’t Give
6 O’clock News
Good Things
Oil Man’s War
Cheapest Keys

Secret Smile
Back to Me

Dan Wilson

Kathleen Edwards



  1. Good review, excellent pix, Cory. The editor in me, however, must note that the word is “donning,” not “dawning” a guitar. The sun does not rise on a guitar, at least not like that.

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