Way Down Low
Three years ago, Austin’s Kat Edmonson made one of the most charming debuts in recent memory with Take to the Sky. Edmonson’s sophomore release ratchets her appeal several notches higher; her fragile warmth is underscored by a delightful, Nellie McKay-esque quirkiness, and her newly displayed songwriting gifts are tremendous. Though the title suggests an album of heartache—and romantic woe is certainly present across Miles Zuniga’s “Hopelessly Blue” and her own “Nobody Knows That”—Edmonson’s interests are far more wide ranging. She explores an entirely different sort of ache, of the morning-after variety, with the bubbly “Champagne,” luxuriates in the sweet optimism of “Lucky” (co-written with Kevin Lovejoy, who guests on keyboard and organ), playfully resigns herself to a solo life in “I’m Not in Love,” and finds an ideal conspirator in Lyle Lovett on “Long Way Home,” a cozy ode to unexpected fulfillment.
And Edmonson chooses her covers with equal care. In addition to the Zuniga track, there’s a hushed, languid reading of “Whispering Grass” that rivals Jackie Paris’ definitive 1956 version, a rapid-pulsed but supremely tender rendition of Clarence “Sonny” Henry’s “I Don’t Know” (from which the album’s title is lifted), and a cunningly pensive treatment of Brian Wilson’s “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times.”