Acclaimed Canadian singer, songwriter and musician Kathleen Edwards makes her long-awaited return to music with her highly-anticipated new album Total Freedom, which will be released August 14 on Dualtone (an Entertainment One Company). Already receiving widespread attention, Edwards was recently the subject of an exclusive, in-depth profile at Rolling Stone, who praise Total Freedom as “the result of profound self-reflection from Edwards, who’s reached a place where her past trials, false starts, and wrong turns have begun to feel less like a burden and more like a blessing.”
The first Australian single from the album is “Options Open”, of which The New York Times has proclaimed, “Warm and wry, it’s a joy just to hear her voice again”, and Entertainment Weekly has called “a snappy and crisp reintroduction to her formidable gifts…it’s an expansive and promising ambassador for songs to come.” The track is available now.
Co-produced by Edwards, longtime collaborator and guitarist Jim Bryson and Grammy Award-winning producer and musician Ian Fitchuk, Total Freedom marks a major return for Edwards, who took an extended step away from music in 2014. After spending the last six years running her successful small business (a coffee shop, bar and café aptly named Quitters, in her hometown of Stittsville, Ottawa), Edwards is back with a refreshed creative outlook and a new sense of freedom. Across the album’s eleven songs, Edwards revisits past relationships with a new perspective, explores her own resilience and optimism and for the first time pursues what she feels is right rather than what is expected.
“I had no desire to write, no desire to play,” she says of what she refers to as her “working sabbatical”. “It allowed me all the time and space I needed to even just enjoy listening to music again. There were so many times where, if I was thinking about my own writing or playing, my heart just wasn’t in it.” She continues, “I don’t want to write songs that are going to keep me in a dark place for two years. I didn’t have to carry a lot of the pressure of whatever course I was on previously…There’s a pressure sometimes to keep that ball rolling, and that’s what was so freeing about stopping altogether and starting again. I realized I’m entirely in control and deciding what my course of action is.”
Total Freedom is Edwards’ fifth-studio album since her 2003 debut Failer (which featured Australian CMC favourite “6 O’Clock News”) and her first since 2012’s Voyageur. Voyageur reached #39 on the United States’ Billboard 200 chart, #2 in Canada and received widespread critical acclaim. NPR Music praised, “Her songs feel as personal and lived-in as ever…Edwards has never seemed more confident in her own considerable gifts”; Pitchfork declared “Each song emphasizes change and risk, and Edwards never resorts to tired sentiments or platitudes about healing and hope”; and Rolling Stone proclaimed, “an exquisite, widescreen beauty.” Now based in Ottawa, Ontario, Edwards is a five-time Juno Award nominee and winner of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize for Voyageur track, “A Soft Place to Land.” She has also had her music featured in several hit television shows including Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Hart of Dixie, House and more.
Check out this great live showcase Kathleen did last week with her band.