One for my baby and one for the road. It’s not often that I manage to drag in a reference to Ida Lupino into a review but that smoky, torch singer on the lam feel pervades Kristen Cothron's album “Show Me Where The Edge Is₀”. Although the roadhouse would, in all likelihood, not her true home, Ms Cothron seems, for most of this album at least, divorced from the uptown jazz clubs that would, or should, be her natural environment.
Even her choice of covers – 3 Elvis Costello songs, no less – suggests that Ms Cothron knows that words should have meaning and, perhaps suitably inspired by our most revered Mr Costello, her own songs also demonstrate a lyrical flexibility that lifts them above the level of the normal thesaurus infected songwriter. The best, however, is yet to come. Having established that she is a singer driven by the song, Kristen Cothron then proves she is quite capable of taking the wheel when it comes to heading out on to the highway to sell those songs to an audience. Keeping the customer satisfied comes easily to her and “Absolute Celebrity” highlights her ability to do just that. Let’s now return to those Elvis Costello covers. Women seem to bring a different perspective to his words (Holly Cole’s sexually ambiguous take on “Alison”, for example) and the mannered version of “Town Cryer” takes that song far uptown on this album. That said, the cover of “This Year’s Girl” is taken straight with only some ice added.
Returning to her original material, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that the mark of pure class has been stamped on the sinuous “Further Than This” and on the similarly elegant yet subtly assertive “Maybe It’s You”. It’s a singer and the song kind of thing.
Kristen Cothron mixes uptown with downtown. She’s got the class to carry off a ballad and yet she draws on heartbreak and a bleak sentimentality as if the backroom bar was as much the past as it is the future.
One for my baby and one for the road. Well, I’m on the road now and I’m heading for Kirsten Cothron country.