Singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards. Photo by Mike Dunn

Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards is performing in Waldoboro on Friday, her first appearance in Maine since 2012.

The show was originally set for June 23 but was rescheduled because of delays in getting work visas for her and her bandmates.

Edwards first caught the public eye in 2003 with her debut album “Failer” and its singles “Six O’Clock News” and “Hockey Skates.”

Three critically acclaimed albums followed: “Back to Me” (2005), “Asking for Flowers” (2008) and “Voyageur” (2012).

During those years, Edwards performed in Maine at venues including The Big Easy, Space and Port City Music Hall, always drawing big crowds.

Despite a successful career, it all stopped after the “Voyageur” tour, when Edwards essentially quit music.


Gone were the recording sessions and performances. Instead, Edwards sought help for clinical depression.

Then, a realization led to a radical decision about what to do next.

“My whole life was defined about being this person who wrote songs and went on tour and played them, and I needed something else in my life,” Edwards said in an interview.

So, in 2014, Edwards opened a coffee shop called Quitters in Stittsville, Ontario, which she ran for several years before selling it in 2021.

“It was this sort of the thing that I did that helped me rebuild my sense of self, and it gave me a chance to have a life and an identity outside of being a musical performer, which I desperately needed,” she said.

Edwards said one of the biggest rewards of owning Quitters was the sense of community it fostered.


Her return to music can be attributed to a phone call in 2017.

It was from country singer Maren Morris, who said she was a huge fan and invited Edwards to a songwriting session in Nashville. Edwards said yes, and the result was the ballad “Good Woman” on Morris’ 2019 album “Girl.” Edwards co-wrote the track and sings backing vocals.

From there, Edwards kept on writing.

Her fifth album, “Total Freedom,” came out in 2020, and she eased back into playing live during pockets of time when pandemic restrictions had eased.

“Total Freedom” is home to the track “Glenfern” with these introspective lyrics:

We had a tour bus with a bed in the back
We bought a rock and roll dream, it was total crap
Well, we toured the world, and we played on TV
We met some of our heroes, it almost killed me


The entire album is an Americana masterclass, with twangy rockers including “Options Open,” the slow burner “Take It With You When You Go,” and the introspective, tender ballad “Birds On A Feeder.”

Edwards said her next album should come out next spring. Musician Jason Isbell will produce it.

In the meantime, she is performing a string of dates, and as she visits locations connected with her past mental health challenges, Edwards has a plan.

“I am determined to confront every negative association with a place that has nothing to do with the place. It’s just with the place where I remember being in a lot of pain,” she said.

She’s also more comfortable talking to her fans.

“Before I quit music, I was really not well within myself, and so whenever somebody came up to me and talked to me about how much my music meant or how much they liked the show, I felt like I was having to give of myself even more, and I was already so depleted,” she said.


Time does heal some wounds.

“I’m so rewarded, and I feel so much gratitude for the experience of having a connection with either a room of people or a single person who tells me a story,” she said. “It actually lifts me up instead of having the opposite effect that it did before, and that is now my superpower. It carries me instead of being the thing that I thought was actually holding me down.”

Edwards said she works things out in songs that range from joyful to painful.

“I’m navigating good memories and bad memories in the music that I write, and being vulnerable is what actually makes my work meaningful to other people because other people go through the same vulnerabilities.”

In 2009, Edwards told the Press Herald that the title track from her 2008 album “Asking for Flowers” is the best song she’s ever written.

She said that’s still true because it’s one that her fans find highly relatable.


“I know there are lots of other songs that people like of mine, and that’s great,” she said. “But I think that that one is really one of the benchmark songs of my career, for sure.”

You can hear “Asking for Flowers” and songs from her entire discography, as well as some new ones, in Waldoboro.

Kathleen Edwards
7:30 p.m. Friday. Waldo Theatre, 916 Main St., Waldoboro, $35.

Note: This show was originally scheduled for June 23. All tickets will be honored on July 26. Refunds can be requested at point of purchase.

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