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Kat Edmonson: Way Down Low

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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.”

Originally Published