Goodnight, California

I’m not sure why but I often confuse Kathleen Edwards with Sarah Slean. I suppose there are some similarities in their styles, though their voices are quite different. Maybe it’s because they are both highly successful singer-songwriters who come from Canada. 

Or, maybe it’s because like Slean’s album, The Baroness (discussed in my post on “The Rose”), Edwards’ album Asking for Flowers is one that we have often listened to all the way through. We would do this on long car rides, especially when we went to our dear friends’ farm property near Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, Canada. There is something about this music that fits so well with driving on highways in the country. As I’ve mentioned before, we drove there for occasional weekends and for me, highlights of the drive were the scenery and the music, the peacefulness of driving with my sweety, and getting away from the pressures of our jobs. 

Our friends were superb hosts, and we always shared a lot of laughs. Sadly, the husband in that marriage died three years ago, the same year my mum died, so it was a terrible year of loss though it was the same year I retired from full-time work, so I had more time and space to deal with grief as well as practical matters related to death.

“Goodnight, California” is a brilliant song, probably one of my favourites of Edwards’ as it is slow and ponderous with a tone of melancholy, with strings weaving underneath and around her usual alt-country style. A harmonica solo comes into the last half of the song, the strings and harmonica playing back and forth against and with each other. It’s captivating. The song runs six minutes, twenty-nine seconds and has sparse lyrics for a song of such length:

“You know what I wish?
It was just you and me
Sitting in this corner bar
You can tell me how you are
I’m not going to lie
Or anything
You don’t even have to speak
If you keep looking at me

I could go all night
But they’re turning up the lights
It would be so easy
To do or say anything
But I’m not going to lie
Or anything
I won’t let you in my heart
But you are always on my mind”

(“Goodnight, California,” by Kathleen Edwards)

Of all her songs, I think this is one that best highlights the stunning beauty of Edwards’ voice. Asking for Flowers is her third studio album, released in 2008. After her fourth album, Voyageur (2012), Edwards took time away from her music career. In 2018 following the death-by-suicide of American musician Neal Casal, Edwards openly talked about the depression that led to her pausing her musical career. I hope this national treasure is doing as well as possible in a public health crisis that is adding additional strain on those suffering, often alone, through such illnesses.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. 

And, I haven’t asked this for quite some time: if you like the music, please buy it, and support the artist.

Here’s the official audio for the song from the Kathleen Edwards YouTube topic channel:

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