A fixture on the Americana landscape, Kathleen Edwards
was born in Ottawa, Canada, the daughter of foreign service parents who played piano and guitar in their spare time. At five, Edwards
began to study classical violin, which continued through her early teens. At that point, the Edwards
family moved overseas. Removed from the influence of mainstream North American pop music, Edwards
delved into her older brother's collection of Bob Dylan
, Neil Young
, and early Tom Petty
records. After high school, she landed back in Ottawa, where she sang and played her guitar in local clubs while networking with other musicians in the scene.
In 1999 Edwards
recorded her debut EP, Building 55, and toured throughout Canada to support it, busking and opening for acts like Hayden
and Jane Siberry
along the way. A bad breakup led to more songwriting, much of which took place after Edwards
moved out of Ottawa and into rural Quebec. Those songs became the basis of Failer
, her debut full-length, which she recorded in Ottawa in late 2001. The album was a heartfelt mixture of folk and country, and drew upon influences like Whiskeytown
and Gillian Welch
. A major critical buzz began to swirl around her music, and gigs at the 2002 South by Southwest festival -- as well as an opening slot for Richard Buckner
-- led to a deal with Zoe/Rounder, which released Failer
in January 2003. The album garnered rave reviews, and Edwards
toured extensively in support, headlining her own club dates and playing arenas in support of Bob Dylan
and the Rolling Stones.
In 2004 she headed back into the studio to record her second album, with guitarist and bandleader Colin Cripps serving as producer. The final product was Back to Me, which arrived in stores during the spring of 2005 and introduced some pop elements into Edwards
' dusty Americana. It was followed in 2008 by Asking for Flowers. It would be four years before her next album, Voyageur, which chronicled a love affair from beginning to end, appeared in 2012.