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[ATTENDED: August 24, 2022] Kathleen Edwards

Back in 2019 Kathleen Edwards came out of “retirement” after spending five years running a coffee house in Stittsville, Ottawa called Quitters.  She has since sold Quitters and it is now something else.

She announced a few shows in 2019 and then a small tour in 2021.  I hoofed it into New York City to see what I imagined would be my only time seeing her.  (She was also opening for Jason Isbell, but I didn’t want to see her as an opener nor did I want to see Jason Isbell).

But then she announced a full tour in 2022!  I bought a ticket for her at SOPAC (I had hoofed it all the way to NYC and then she decided to play a place 40 min from my house!).  But she also announced a free show (FREE!) in Haddon Heights, NJ.  A place I’d never been and which I feared was too far away.

It’s a bit of a drive but not really worse than going to Philly and you avoid most of the Philly traffic. Plus, the venue turned out to be lovely.  A lot of people have played this summer concert series so I’ll be keeping an eye out for what’s going on next summer.

I probably could have sat on the lawn, but I decided to take the amphitheater seating that was provided  I relaxed in the full, but not packed crowd.  (I was concerned that no one would be there, but it was nicely crowded).

Kathleen came out on stage with a different set up than last time.  Last time it was guitar bass and drums, with the guitarist being Colin Cripps her ex-husband.  For this show she had a bassist Ryan Gavel and drummer Peter von Althen (same drummer different bassist) but she also had pedal steel guitar player Aaron Goldstein and Kinley Dowling who played keys and violin.  She said she was so thankful to finally have a woman on tour with her and that it brought a whole new energy to the show and the tour bus.

She told a funny story about how Aaron and Ryan were at the Toronto airport for six hours the day before but had missed their flight and had to fly into town early this morning–Aaron Goldstein a man with endless patience for your border services.  She also said that she forgot to introduce Aaron the other night and his whole family was in the audience.

I didn’t expect a hugely different set.  In fact, I didn’t know what to expect for a free show.  With people who were quite possibly there because they lived nearby and it was free.

She started with more or less the same few songs that she did in 2021, in a slightly re-arranged order. But they sounded different with this line up.  The electric guitar was gone and instead there were violin solos and a lot of pedal steel.  The pedal steel on “Options Open” changed the feel of the song but added some real depth.  As did Dowling’s backing vocals.

She seemed to think that there were not many fans there for he, but the crowd knew her stuff quite well, with a nice response for “Change the Sheets” (one of my faves) and “Hockey Skates.”  The new song “Glenfern” had a soaring violin riff which was a fun change.

Last time she told stories about some of the songs.  This time the stories were different, which was fun.  And nice to know she’s not on a script at all the shows.  She explained the origin of “One More Song the Radio won’t Like” as being a song she had to write to make her record a little longer.  She played it because someone said it was his birthday and he requested it.  She had come out to play a brief acoustic solo set (although Goldstein stayed for some lap steel accompaniment).  She also played “Empty Threat” in this style.

The band came back out and she played three different songs in the middle of the set which was fun.  She told us “Mercury” really won over people at rock festivals because it opens: “Want to go get high?/ Mercury is parked outside.”  I also enjoyed hearing “A Soft Place to Land” from Voyageur.

She then introduced Hard on Everyone with a lengthy story explaining that she had been living with someone who seemed to be angry and hard all the time–he was hard on things and things were always breaking.  She listened to a podcast called “Dirty John” and said “oh my fucking god, this is about me.”  She hoped that anyone in a similar situation could get out of it.  It really put a spin on this song that is dark but insanely catchy.  The song built and totally rocked by the end with a wicked solo from Goldstein.

She also later jokingly apologized for cursing so much at a family event.

She ended the set with “6’O’Clock News,” another fantastic song from her debut (this is the 20th anniversary of that album, Failer).

She left and the emcee for the night came out to say hat it was early enough that he was sure Kathleen would give us one more song.

She did, she came back out and played “Asking for Flowers,” a song I’ve always loved.

I really hoped she’d play “I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory,” and indeed someone did shout it out as a request, but she didn’t hear him.

This set was wonderful and it got me even more psyched to see her in a few weeks with S.

2022 SOPAC 2022 Summer Concert, NJ 2021 LPR, NYC
Simple Math ¥ Simple Math ¥ Options Open ¥
Options Open ¥ Options Open ¥ In State ⇐
In State Change the Sheets Simple Math ¥
Hockey Skates Hockey Skates Change the Sheets √
Birds on a Feeder ¥ Who Rescued Who ¥ Six O’Clock News ⊕
Glenfern ¥ Glenfern ¥ Birds on a Feeder ¥
Who Rescued Who ¥ One More Song the Radio Won’t Like ⊕ (solo w/ lap steel) Goodnight, California ∇
Evangeline (Emmylous Harris cover) Empty Threat √ (solo with lap steel) Empty Threat (solo acoustic) √
Mercury Mercury ⊕ Who Rescued Who (solo with mandolin) ¥
Hard on Everyone ¥ Fools Ride ¥ Glenfern ¥
Six O’Clock News ⊕ A Soft Place to Land √ Copied Keys ⇐
Asking for Flowers Hard on Everyone ¥ The Logical Song (Supertramp cover)
encore Six O’Clock News ⊕ Hockey Skates ⊕
Goodnight, California encore Hard on Everyone ¥
Moneytalks (AC/DC cover) (partial) Asking for Flowers encore
Comes a Time (Neil Young cover) Asking for Flowers ∇
Back to Me ⇐

⊕= Failer (2002)
⇐ = Back to Me (2005)
∇ = Asking for Flowers (2008)
√ = Voyageur (2012)
¥ = Total Freedom (2020)

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[ATTENDED: August 24, 2022] Shannen Moser

It’s funny how some artists wind up as opening acts quite often.  Shannen Moser has been listed as an opening act for several band that I was interested in seeing.  She’s also been on two Champagne Jams from The Front Bottoms.  This is only my second time seeing her though and I’m not sure when she was announced as the opener for Kathleen Edwards, because I didn’t find out until a couple of days beforehand.

Shannen is from Berks County, PA.  She plays a simple kind of open-tuned guitar (such that a capo is all you need to make a chord sound good).  Some of her songs have a finger-picking section as well.

Her lyrics are personal and often pointed.

She received a nice round of applause for saying that she played with Bernie Sanders a few days earlier at his Rally with Bernie Sanders in Philadelphia to fight back against corporate greed. (more…)

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