Kim Edgar
Quietly Fantastic Music

A Fully Packed and Exquisite Calendar of Thought- Provoking Folk-Pop, Made in Scotland With Friends From Home and Away.

Serendipity is at play here: after ending 2022 reviewing a superb album for Rocking Magpie decorated with a butterfly, here I begin 2023 with another!
This time it is courtesy of an established Scottish Singer Songwriter and pianist too. Dividing her time between the folk band Cara alongside her solo projects, Kim Edgar has already notched up 4 solo albums but this latest release is unique to say the least.
The project is wrapped up in a rather ambitious, self- inflicted challenge: recording a new song every month from Oct 2021 to Sept 2022. Furthermore, each track is born out of collaborating with a different artist; some fellow Scots and others from around the Globe. A quick role call includes amongst others: Taiwanese musician Stone, French/Canadian artist Sandra Le Couteur, Admiral Fallow’s Louis Abbott and folk musician Rachel Sermanni from Scotland.
A lot to take in on first play, yet the whole concept is rather intriguing. Many spins in and I feel like I’ve spent a whole calendar year with this new to me artist:
If you are looking for something really different, thought provoking, brave and just simply beautiful then stay put.

A piano-driven, theatrical dreamscape proportioned track ‘Any Wishing Star’ softly soothes us into the album. Written with Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, adapting his Twitter poems as a starting point, the pair communicated by email.
In fact, it seems all forms of digital communication and social media were used during the making of this album!
This opener showcases Kim Edgar’s expressively atmospheric vocals, a really touching appeal for kindness and hope to win the day despite life not being easy.
The lyrics are strikingly personal and reflective:
It’s so easy to feel defeated
When the day ain’t even started yet
Many dreams still need to be completed
Many promises we can’t forget”

Be warned as the gears shift down for a much darker ride across the next few tracks: “Save Myself” (Run Away), a dramatic collaboration with a fellow Scottish artist Horse McDonald, swoops in with an urgent menacing pace and I get carried away thinking this rift would be epic in a cool cult apocalyptic movie.
The message is one of self-preservation, shutting out feelings in order to emotionally survive traumatic experiences, in this case based on personal experience of child abduction by the guest artist herself.
Wow, I told you this album was brave.

Next, English singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine hops in the chair for “The Edge of Shame”, darkness all around, still with a mood of slow Big Brother discord, inspired by the cruel attitudes and shame unmarried mothers were subjected to in decades gone by:

Her voice still wavers when she talks
It wasn’t her who made the rules
We are on the edge of shame
We are told what’s right and wrong

Although still a stark warning against the dangers of gambling addition, I love the contrasting electro pop hook of the short, snappy “Fifty To One”.
With the rousing brass section and chorus, it whisks me away to a modern day edgy Fifth Dimension with Ms Edgar working alongside Edinburgh’s Goodnight Louisa.
An equally upbeat mood strikes me on the most excellent “Cornerstone”, another Scottish team effort this time with Glasgow’s James Grant.
A delicious duet which nearly made the top slot: acoustic guitar carving out a cool contemporary groove and their sweet, irresistible harmonies first fooled me into thinking this was a love song.
Well, in a way it is but directed at books! This song wonderfully transports me back to memories as a kid, my weekly visits to the library and feeling the wave of excitement clutching my new selections:

You explain me, teach me where I’m from
Entertain me,
Help me to belong”

This album says so much, song after song, encouraging us to assess our own footprint of “Consequences”.
Significantly the emotive single, made with J-P Piirainen from Finland,“It Only Takes A Silence” was written the day that Russia invaded Ukraine with the urgency for us all to speak out:
United voices gaining traction,
Division cannot win”

It’s the perfect expression of unity that this collaborator plays the guitele, a blend of the acoustic guitar and the Finnish instrument the Kantele.
Another song of note “In The Long Run” focuses on the innocent casualties of conflicts.
Teaming up with Australia’s rocker William Crighton, I can’t lie, it’s a difficult listen if you zone into the lyrics but that’s what makes it so impactful coupled with the sombre military beats of drums and brass.

Environmental themes are explored throughout and “The Rolling Sea”, narrated from Planet Earth’s perspective is my favourite track. It’s another duet, this time with Welsh musician Dan Bettridge: his atmospheric guitar eerily rings out like a death knoll. Trouble gently builds with the soft waves of thunder drums, creating a striking contrast to the calmness of the wistful vocal harmonies that are stunning btw.
It’s stripped back, compelling and a simply beautiful heart tuggin’ appeal for mankind to start looking after the world:

This is the highest tide I have ever known
I wish you would treasure what we have here
There’s only so much I can take
I love you, still I need to warn you
Tread lightly, tread lightly”

Whether by Text, WhatsApp, Messenger or Zoom, creating this extraordinary album with a bunch of artists, most of which Kim Edgar had never met in the real world, feels like an epic testament to her openness and creative versatility.
The impact and intimacy achieved within these 12 songs are ultimately her own triumphant consequence of Lockdown in my book: despite the dark places she transports us to, the whole experience has left me with the serene sense of hope that I felt whilst listening to that very first track.
Take this gap year with her, I guarantee you’ll tread a little lighter.

Review by Anita Joyce

Released 3rd February 2023


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