Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Kim Edgar - A name you should know.

Out there in the world there are hundreds, thousands of people quietly making a living from music sitting off the radar as far as the average music lover is concerned.

Last year Kim Edgar visited us in Crianlarich. here she is in the bar at The Ben More promoting her show. Sadly I didn't get to see her play, (drinks to serve, plates to clear) but I did investigate her albums, and found gold.

You may think you can classify her music by looking at the website and have parceled her off as folky singer/songwriter, true up to a point but each of her albums has a definite character and, most unusual in today's musical climate, show her writing and performing maturing and evolving.

Debut "Butterflies and Broken Glass" appeared in 2008 and drew the inevitable, lazy, comparisons with Sandi Thom and Amy MacDonald. Kim's songwriting was more assured and the arrangements less obvious than either of those relentlessly commercial artists. A review said "very moving, literate, allusive and expressively sung", and they were right, another review clearly written by some who had listened on fast forward described it as slick folk pop, no!

Album two "The Ornate Lie" in 2012 was a step forward particularly musically. Extra bite to the songs, a bigger production, and a more confident performance overall. The Tori Amos influence was more overt this time, but a perceptive review spotted signs of Aimee Mann as well.  

Most recently "Stories Untold" from 2016, is less ornate. Simpler arrangements, more folk, less Tori. Some of the songs, particularly 'Significant Other Deceased' remind me of Cara Dillon. It sounds like Kim has wanted to focus the listener on the lyrics, which have again taken a step forward. Try 'Well Worn' and especially 'Things Crack, Then Shatter' an affecting song simply sung and played.

As well as her solo work Kim plays, mostly in Germany, with the band Cara operating more in the Irish music world, does sessions, workshops, and directs choirs. So overall she is making a living (as far as I can see) playing her music, and finding an audience. In 2017 that is an achievement. The inevitable stripped down, keyboard & guitar live shows are part of life (Over The Rhine make the same compromise). She reminds me of Nerina Pallot in some ways, although she is 6 albums into her career has gone the big label route a couple of times, and had closer brushes with the "big time". But Nerina seems from the outside at least to have made more effort to satisfy commercial demands and her albums are less consistent and only intermittently hit the highs routine in Kim's music.

I've talked before about the difficulties of making a living in music, Kim has a good website, has the Social Media firing and gets good reviews for albums and live work. But you haven't heard of her and you should. Kim Edgar is a major talent, the equal and better of anyone in her field. As a fan I would like her to be heard widely and receive the rewards her music deserves (try Bandcamp Kim). This may of course not be what Kim wants.

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