Before the years of horses drinking beer, muddy twang and an over “’Merica” mentality, there was a vast space where country and pop met. It was solidified by a mutual fondness of story, typically in the form of folk, and life experiences.
On the ridge overlooking the plains where the Cash’s, Mitchell’s and Cline’s watched the sunset, Linda Draper’s Edgewise revels that this sound is not gone, but stowed away deep within a songwriter, aching to be revealed.
Draper’s Mitchell-esc delivery lingers on a hauntingly retrospective singer/songwriter style without ever overreaching. Her ability to create spellbinding tracks over and over again speaks volumes to her writing. But, you see, her voice never quite conveys the sharp edge of the words she sings; much like her predecessors.
Does this slow Draper down?
Not a chance.
Through eleven tracks she exudes a classic sound that fits snugly in that vintage country/pop era, but when you listen closer to what she is saying Linda Draper becomes a modern presence that we should all be keeping an eye on. The majesty of Edgewise is found more in the lyrics than anything else. When she sings “Everyone’s got something to say in this town/some hipster just sarcastically sold me/his friend’s band’s t-shirt/they’re so underground they call themselves dirt” in “In Good Hands” there is a moment of humor laced with real-world observation that you’ll quickly see is the foundation for the entire album. Gems like “Hollow,” also the first single off the album, her cover of Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” and the Cash-like “Shadow Of A Coal Mine” expand Draper’s playbook from just another poet and a guitar to a real contender.
The fine line that is not pop, not country and doesn’t quite taste like folk is a very difficult one to achieve, but Linda Draper dances on it with grace. Her purposeful words and simple instrumentals certainly set her apart from the crowd and have me clinging to each song. Edgewise isn’t an attempt at getting a point in, but a demonstration of how someone can slide in and out without being restricted to the confines of one particular genre; just simply a singer and a songwriter.