Thursday, March 30, 2006

Oh, she sure could sing...

Gram Parsons had it right when he sang that line. There's something indescribably beautiful about a talented woman singing with passion. This week I got to see two such women, Brandi Carlile and Kathleen Edwards.

Ms. Carlile played at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia (photo on the left) opening up for Jamie Cullum. For those of you unfamiliar with Philly, the Kimmel Center is the venue where the Philadelphia Orchestra does its thing. In other words, it's no ordinary rock venue. The building is beautiful and the acoustics are top notch. Brandi and her band took the stage to a rousing round of applause from an adoring Philly crowd, and they proceeded to knock out tunes from her debut album with the confidence of a veteran act. Most of her band left the stage so she could do a duet with her cellist, and then the cellist left and Brandi was all alone to finish her set (which, due to a tragic "senior moment", I cannot remember). To close things off she started strumming the delicate appregios of "Halleluiah", the haunting, lovely Leonard Cohen ballad. Her version was so compelling it gave me shivers down my spine. As other fans have noted, she clearly is channeling the spirit of the Jeff Buckley version of the song when she sings it. Outstanding way to end her all-too-brief set. Can't wait to see her when she comes back to headline the TLA in May.

On the "Ohmygawdcanyoubelieveit?!" front, I got to meet her and her band afterwards, which was totally cool. Also, she dueted with Jamie Cullum during his set on Elton John's "Rocket Man". Cullum closed his set with an interesting version of Radiohead's "High And Dry". Not sure about that one, but it was fun to hear.

The next night I had the pleasure of seeing Kathleen Edwards play at the Tin Angel. Her latest, Back To Me, was one of my favorite albums of 2005. I saw her play live in 2005 with her band when she opened for My Morning Jacket at the TLA. I must say, though MMJ is great live, Edwards and her band kicked their ass at that show. So I was really psyched to see her do an acoustic gig at the Tin Angel this week.

She played with Jim Bryson, the mutil-instrumentalist from her touring band, and the show was outstanding from the first note. She opened with "Old Time Sake", my second favorite from Back To Me, and her rendition gave me goosebumps. She played a couple of new songs, which were great, along with a bunch of tracks from her two studio albums, and she ended the show with a cover of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", joined onstage by opener Joel Plaskett.

For those of you that don't know Kathleen Edwards, I suppose I'd describe her music as americana-style rock 'n' roll a la Tom Petty, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams or Bruce Springsteen. The rockin' edge in her singer/songwriter vibe likely stems from her love of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers and Neil Young's Crazy Horse. Her voice is buttery smooth, reminiscent of a less whiskey-worn Lucinda.

I was struck throughout the show by the smoldering intensity with which Edwards sings. Even when delivering the most delicate of lines, it is clear that there's a fire inside her that fuels her music. It is a powerful thing to watch, for sure, so it was a treat to get to say hi to her after the gig and thank her for a great show. Here's the set:

Old Time Sake
In State
Hockey Skates
One More Song The Radio Won't Like
New Song (says "Solo" on the setlist)
Westby (w/ "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" [U2] tease)
Six O'Clock News
What Are You Waiting For
Pink Emerson Radio
Somewhere Else
Back To Me
New Song #2 (not on setlist)
Only Love Can Break Your Heart [Neil Young] (w/ Joel Plaskett)

"Copied Keys", my favortite, was on the original setlist but she didn't play it, so I've decided to post a version of it from her show in DC on 10-10-05, which was broadcast by WXPN here in Philly.

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Copied Keys (live)

If anyone out there has some acoustic Kathleen Edwards I'd love to hear it. In the meantime, go buy Edwards' records and help support an amazing talent.

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Blogger daveawayfromhome said...

I used to know this girl back when I first went to college. She was a mousy little thing, rather plain. Then one day I saw her up on stage playing solo with the OKC Symphony, and was amazed to see that she was absolutely beautiful. I think that maybe do anything with a passion adds to the attractiveness of someone, and this seems to be especially true with music.

April 01, 2006 4:46 PM  

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