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Edmonton artist is soaring high

Edmonton artist is soaring high

Credit: CARMYN EFFA

A new Canadian artist is making sound waves. Kaley Bird is flying high with her album Donít Say Youíre Sorry.


Preston Lobzun | Interrobang | Culture | May 26th, 2014



There is a lot to be said about contemporary folk. The influence of pop music mixed with the traditional playing styles of folk/ country artists has opened up a lot of doors for experimentation and innovation.

Kaley Bird is a seemingly prolific writer, being an active touring musician for six years and a passionate arts advocate for Edmonton where she hails from. She has shared the stage with names like Steve Earl and Kathleen Edwards on her travels across the expansive North American landscapes.

Her inspirations as an artist are drawn in from her home out west, though her dedication to including other ideas and her sheer work ethic is showcased by her experiences on the road as a touring musician.

Bird's 2014 production Don't Say You're Sorry is the end result of nearly three years work with acclaimed Canadian producer Russell Broom. It's very apparent through listening to this album that each of the tracks has a certain depth to them. She doesn't fall into any typical traps like over production or stale songwriting and instead makes a point of having each tune remain unique in the context of a dynamic half-hour record.

One of the things that stood out for me while listening to the album was that each track has immaculate placement of instrumentation that do not take away from the lush harmonies and melodies presented in the vocal performance.

It can be very easy for songwriters to get carried away with adding too much when presented with a lot of options for their production. Namely, instruments upon instruments may create layers but also may create a clutter in which none of them stick out and the vocals are drowned in the audible confusion that follows.

On the flip side, some artists don't really go too far beyond your basic acoustic guitar/simple percussion set up which leaves the listener feeling rather bored and uninterested. Whether it's too much of one thing or not enough of another, Bird does a great job of avoiding instrumental clutter and blandness while still including everything from atmospheric synth pads to traditional fiddle. These instruments create a multitude of layers to support the lead vocal, which resides on top of the mix.

Of all the tracks on the album, “High Level Bridge” is one that particularly stands out to me. It's a relaxing sort of song with laid back drums and some southern rock tinged guitar parts underneath the straightforward melody that Bird croons.

I'm not sure what it is about this song but I get a very 1990's pop vibe, especially in the chorus. It might be how the song is structured or how the laid-back rhythm and harmonies support the forefront vocal parts but this doesn't take away from the song at all in my opinion.

My only suggestion if I was a producer for this song would have been to remove the fade out at the end and instead complete the melody with a perfect resolve that is present on other songs from the album.

By the end of the album, I was left with a satisfying experience. This is one of those CDs that I believe can be enjoyed by many different ears as there is something for everyone at some point on the album. It's very clear by the end of the record that there was a lot of work put into it that sticks the craftsmanship above and beyond the efforts of other writers out there.

I would recommend this album to anybody who is a fan of modern or traditional folk music as it predominantly appeals to those crowds and hopefully we'll see Miss Bird come through London on one of her future ventures.
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