Judging from the songs on Kathleen Edwards' sophomore album, Back to Me, this is one gal who's had some unpleasant run-ins with Cupid over the years, and she's not afraid to talk about 'em. Back to Me comes charging out of the gate with "In State," in which a woman spits with no small amount of venom that she's glad her outlaw boyfriend has been sent up the river for 20 years, and the album doesn't get a whole lot more optimistic about affairs of the heart as it goes along. But Back to Me never comes off as bitter for its own sake -- sounding as if it were recorded under the influence of warm bourbon and a gray sky, the album is long on plain-spoken emotions and tough-talking guitars, but there's a fragile undertow beneath Edwards' flinty veneer that often rises to the surface, and the album's frequent bouts with bad karma are leavened by songs such as the sadly nostalgic "Pink Emerson Radio," the heartbreak of "Old Times Sake," and the title cut, in which Edwards shows her man she can give as good as she gets.
Kathleen Edwards turned a few influential heads with her debut album Failer in 2003. This follow-up carries its 11 songs with a little more poise and polish, partly thanks to a sprinkling of high-calibre guests including Tom Petty keyboard player Benmont Tench and Sarah McLachlan's sidekick, Pierre Marchand. But haunting and carefully crafted as it is, the disc cries out for a few more variations of tone and pace, since Edwards is too ready to slip into a mood of all-purpose remorse and regret (as on Copied Keys and What Are You Waiting For).