Kathleen Edwards’ new album reflects on her time in Hamilton

News Aug 08, 2020 by Graham Rockingham Hamilton Spectator

The opening track on Kathleen Edward’s highly anticipated new album “Total Freedom” is called “Glenfern.” It’s also the name of the street in Hamilton where she lived for more than five years.

Glenfern Avenue winds along the base of the escarpment, south of Aberdeen. Its trees offer plenty of shade and its brick houses hold character. Edwards settled into one of those houses in early 2005 after marrying Hamilton-born guitarist Colin Cripps, now a member of Blue Rodeo.

Although the marriage didn’t last, Edwards still has fond memories of her time on Glenfern, working her garden, making new friends and writing songs. It was a time when her career was taking off. She was touring the world, performing on the U.S. talk show circuit, and opening for the Rolling Stones. Those memories come through in “Glenfern,” written as a love song to her ex.

When I go walking in my neighbourhood, I wonder how I even got here

It seems so long since those Hamilton days and the first house we bought together.

And the online street view used to crack me up, it was you standing in your slippers

On the front porch with the Siamese cat, but it’s not up there anymore

And I, I will always be thankful for it

And I, I will always be thankful for it.

“I loved Hamilton,” Edwards says in an interview from her current home near Ottawa. “I thought it would be home for the rest of my life. I loved the neighbourhood we lived in. I miss Hamilton. It was so special.”

“Glenfern” was the first song Edwards wrote for the new album “Total Freedom,” which will be released by Dualtone Records in stores and online on Aug. 14. It’s her first release, following an eight-year break from the studio. “Glenfern,” she says, allowed her to look back on her career and appreciate her past from a more mature viewpoint.

“I have so much more perspective and gratitude and joy in my heart for the people that have come in and out of my life,” says Edwards, 42. “To be able to look back on some of those experiences and have a new perspective on what it was like and how old I was at the time. I didn’t have time to appreciate all those things, including my marriage to Colin and how big a role he played in the early part of my career, to protect me and show me things. I gained so much from his experience and his wisdom by him being on stage with me every night. I was so lucky.”

In 2014, Edwards quit the music business (with the exception of a few sporadic shows) and started up a coffee shop in Stittsville on the outskirts of Ottawa, her hometown. She named it “Quitters.”

The career move came at a time when she was peaking musically. Her last album “Voyager” had been released to rave reviews, making the shortlist for the Polaris Prize and earning her two Juno nominations, including songwriter of the year.

Emotionally, however, her life was in tatters. Her marriage was over, as was a relationship with American producer Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). At times she broke down in tears on stage.

“I found myself in this emotionally heavy pattern that I could not escape, where I was writing stuff to try to make peace with it,” she explains. “I carved it into stone and had to sing it every night. I couldn’t do it anymore.”

Depression and therapy followed, but Quitters gave her a new life.

“Running a business like this has increased my confidence in myself exponentially,” Edwards says. “It allowed me to see myself not just as a singer and musician. My identity is no longer wrapped up in just one thing. It’s been so nice. It gives you a sense of accomplishment.

“I had made such a huge commitment (to music) that it wasn’t giving me the opportunity to do any other thing in my life. Over time, that took its toll.”

Which brings us to the title of the new album “Total Freedom.”

“Music doesn’t own me anymore,” she says. “‘Total Freedom’ is the part where I get to say ‘music doesn’t owe my anything and I don’t owe it anything anymore.’”

Graham Rockingham is a Hamilton-based freelance contributing columnist for The Spectator. Reach him via email: grahamrockingham@gmail.com

Kathleen Edwards’ new album reflects on her time in Hamilton

“I loved Hamilton. I thought it would be home for the rest of my life. I loved the neighbourhood we lived in. I miss Hamilton. It was so special,” Edwards told The Spectator, writes Graham Rockingham.

News Aug 08, 2020 by Graham Rockingham Hamilton Spectator

The opening track on Kathleen Edward’s highly anticipated new album “Total Freedom” is called “Glenfern.” It’s also the name of the street in Hamilton where she lived for more than five years.

Glenfern Avenue winds along the base of the escarpment, south of Aberdeen. Its trees offer plenty of shade and its brick houses hold character. Edwards settled into one of those houses in early 2005 after marrying Hamilton-born guitarist Colin Cripps, now a member of Blue Rodeo.

Although the marriage didn’t last, Edwards still has fond memories of her time on Glenfern, working her garden, making new friends and writing songs. It was a time when her career was taking off. She was touring the world, performing on the U.S. talk show circuit, and opening for the Rolling Stones. Those memories come through in “Glenfern,” written as a love song to her ex.

When I go walking in my neighbourhood, I wonder how I even got here

It seems so long since those Hamilton days and the first house we bought together.

And the online street view used to crack me up, it was you standing in your slippers

On the front porch with the Siamese cat, but it’s not up there anymore

And I, I will always be thankful for it

And I, I will always be thankful for it.

“I loved Hamilton,” Edwards says in an interview from her current home near Ottawa. “I thought it would be home for the rest of my life. I loved the neighbourhood we lived in. I miss Hamilton. It was so special.”

“Glenfern” was the first song Edwards wrote for the new album “Total Freedom,” which will be released by Dualtone Records in stores and online on Aug. 14. It’s her first release, following an eight-year break from the studio. “Glenfern,” she says, allowed her to look back on her career and appreciate her past from a more mature viewpoint.

“I have so much more perspective and gratitude and joy in my heart for the people that have come in and out of my life,” says Edwards, 42. “To be able to look back on some of those experiences and have a new perspective on what it was like and how old I was at the time. I didn’t have time to appreciate all those things, including my marriage to Colin and how big a role he played in the early part of my career, to protect me and show me things. I gained so much from his experience and his wisdom by him being on stage with me every night. I was so lucky.”

In 2014, Edwards quit the music business (with the exception of a few sporadic shows) and started up a coffee shop in Stittsville on the outskirts of Ottawa, her hometown. She named it “Quitters.”

The career move came at a time when she was peaking musically. Her last album “Voyager” had been released to rave reviews, making the shortlist for the Polaris Prize and earning her two Juno nominations, including songwriter of the year.

Emotionally, however, her life was in tatters. Her marriage was over, as was a relationship with American producer Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). At times she broke down in tears on stage.

“I found myself in this emotionally heavy pattern that I could not escape, where I was writing stuff to try to make peace with it,” she explains. “I carved it into stone and had to sing it every night. I couldn’t do it anymore.”

Depression and therapy followed, but Quitters gave her a new life.

“Running a business like this has increased my confidence in myself exponentially,” Edwards says. “It allowed me to see myself not just as a singer and musician. My identity is no longer wrapped up in just one thing. It’s been so nice. It gives you a sense of accomplishment.

“I had made such a huge commitment (to music) that it wasn’t giving me the opportunity to do any other thing in my life. Over time, that took its toll.”

Which brings us to the title of the new album “Total Freedom.”

“Music doesn’t own me anymore,” she says. “‘Total Freedom’ is the part where I get to say ‘music doesn’t owe my anything and I don’t owe it anything anymore.’”

Graham Rockingham is a Hamilton-based freelance contributing columnist for The Spectator. Reach him via email: grahamrockingham@gmail.com

Kathleen Edwards’ new album reflects on her time in Hamilton

“I loved Hamilton. I thought it would be home for the rest of my life. I loved the neighbourhood we lived in. I miss Hamilton. It was so special,” Edwards told The Spectator, writes Graham Rockingham.

News Aug 08, 2020 by Graham Rockingham Hamilton Spectator

The opening track on Kathleen Edward’s highly anticipated new album “Total Freedom” is called “Glenfern.” It’s also the name of the street in Hamilton where she lived for more than five years.

Glenfern Avenue winds along the base of the escarpment, south of Aberdeen. Its trees offer plenty of shade and its brick houses hold character. Edwards settled into one of those houses in early 2005 after marrying Hamilton-born guitarist Colin Cripps, now a member of Blue Rodeo.

Although the marriage didn’t last, Edwards still has fond memories of her time on Glenfern, working her garden, making new friends and writing songs. It was a time when her career was taking off. She was touring the world, performing on the U.S. talk show circuit, and opening for the Rolling Stones. Those memories come through in “Glenfern,” written as a love song to her ex.

When I go walking in my neighbourhood, I wonder how I even got here

It seems so long since those Hamilton days and the first house we bought together.

And the online street view used to crack me up, it was you standing in your slippers

On the front porch with the Siamese cat, but it’s not up there anymore

And I, I will always be thankful for it

And I, I will always be thankful for it.

“I loved Hamilton,” Edwards says in an interview from her current home near Ottawa. “I thought it would be home for the rest of my life. I loved the neighbourhood we lived in. I miss Hamilton. It was so special.”

“Glenfern” was the first song Edwards wrote for the new album “Total Freedom,” which will be released by Dualtone Records in stores and online on Aug. 14. It’s her first release, following an eight-year break from the studio. “Glenfern,” she says, allowed her to look back on her career and appreciate her past from a more mature viewpoint.

“I have so much more perspective and gratitude and joy in my heart for the people that have come in and out of my life,” says Edwards, 42. “To be able to look back on some of those experiences and have a new perspective on what it was like and how old I was at the time. I didn’t have time to appreciate all those things, including my marriage to Colin and how big a role he played in the early part of my career, to protect me and show me things. I gained so much from his experience and his wisdom by him being on stage with me every night. I was so lucky.”

In 2014, Edwards quit the music business (with the exception of a few sporadic shows) and started up a coffee shop in Stittsville on the outskirts of Ottawa, her hometown. She named it “Quitters.”

The career move came at a time when she was peaking musically. Her last album “Voyager” had been released to rave reviews, making the shortlist for the Polaris Prize and earning her two Juno nominations, including songwriter of the year.

Emotionally, however, her life was in tatters. Her marriage was over, as was a relationship with American producer Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). At times she broke down in tears on stage.

“I found myself in this emotionally heavy pattern that I could not escape, where I was writing stuff to try to make peace with it,” she explains. “I carved it into stone and had to sing it every night. I couldn’t do it anymore.”

Depression and therapy followed, but Quitters gave her a new life.

“Running a business like this has increased my confidence in myself exponentially,” Edwards says. “It allowed me to see myself not just as a singer and musician. My identity is no longer wrapped up in just one thing. It’s been so nice. It gives you a sense of accomplishment.

“I had made such a huge commitment (to music) that it wasn’t giving me the opportunity to do any other thing in my life. Over time, that took its toll.”

Which brings us to the title of the new album “Total Freedom.”

“Music doesn’t own me anymore,” she says. “‘Total Freedom’ is the part where I get to say ‘music doesn’t owe my anything and I don’t owe it anything anymore.’”

Graham Rockingham is a Hamilton-based freelance contributing columnist for The Spectator. Reach him via email: grahamrockingham@gmail.com