Canadian Music Corner: Kathleen Edwards & Drive By Punch

Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

Kathleen Edwards

Two Polaris Prize Short List appearances, regular critical acclaim, recordings with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Jim Cuddy, praise from Rolling Stone, Blender and the New York Times, performances from David Letterman to SXSW, Juno and CCMA nominations and no hit songs. Kathleen Edwards is arguably the least-known music star in Canada. She’s had success off the major charts, but for some reason hasn’t crossed that line, not that she should for any reason.

Country-style with indie-rock credibility and an edge, Edwards has been around for more than 10 years and built up a strong portfolio with smart lyrics from a smoky-sweet voice. A guitarist as well, she’s an incredible songwriter, creating accessible gems. With her most recent work, arguably her strongest album, she explored a more rock arena, leaning away from the twang of previous work, but she hasn’t left it completely.

The track to check out from her right now is no doubt “Chameleon/Comedian,” which starts off light with some haunting vocals and amazing lyrics. It builds to beautiful landscape production with her still central guitar strumming along.

Taylor Rocca, Copy/Web Editor Ω

Drive By Punch 

It was a short drive-by, but boy was it worth the ride.

Edmonton’s Drive By Punch might not be making any new music or playing shows right now, but when it did, it captured an audience that would stay loyal to the group long after it went on hiatus.

A pop-punk act with an edge, Drive By Punch engaged a significant audience within Edmonton, particularly at the University of Alberta, where I first discovered the band at a show in the fall of 2006. I immediately fell in love with the angst-filled and emotional lyrics.

As quickly as I fell in love with Drive By Punch, my heart was broken by the band as they called it quits in April 2007. There is no telling whether or not the high school friends that comprised the group will ever return to the stage or studio together, but one can only hope.

Despite being together for 10 years, Drive By Punch only released one full-length studio album, A Good Start to a Bad Day, in 2005.

While the entire album is worth a listen from start to finish, a few particular standout tracks include “A Good Start to a Bad Day,” “60 Seconds” and “Take This Finger As Goodbye.”