Kathleen Edwards and the Return to Unpleasantville

A delight to see the fragrant Kathleen Edwards finally back on tour this summer to promote her ill-timed 2020 comeback album.

“Near the end of Total Freedom,” Pitchfork reviewer Sam Sodomsky noticed, “Kathleen Edwards sings a song for her dog.”

“Narrating in the second-person to Redd, her golden retriever, the 42-year-old songwriter reflects on the day they first met: ‘You were so sweet, immediately.’ She goes on to describe their walks together, the compliments they received from neighbors, and the place she eventually buried his ashes. It is a quietly emotional and personal narrative, weaving in a thread about her own habit of self-medicating with alcohol. But more than any of these novelistic details, what’s most striking is her serenity, the focus in her delivery and peace in her voice as she quietly breaks your heart. It is a love song for a lost friend: the kind of thing you might sing alone, at home, when no one is listening.”

And yet here we are. In the event, Pitchdork gave it 7.6, and it’s good to have Edwards on the road and free at last from all those insecurities and famous exes:

“[A]fter 2012’s atmospheric Voyageur, produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Edwards found herself disillusioned with the industry. Playing its songs every night was destroying her voice, and the shows themselves had become draining and financially unsustainable at a point when she hoped to be crossing over. “I thought, ‘Oh, my God, no one cares. I’m just not good enough,” she reflected. “The only reason I sold two hundred tickets is because Bon Iver fans are coming to see if Justin might show up.’”

There’s zero risk the alt-country songbird will ever be upstaged by the current Mr. Edwards:  Sean McAdam, real estate developer, visionary and twatwaffle.

As readers may recall, the rebarbative ex-Reform/CA Party shineboy is the founder of Landlab Inc., currently on its fifth phase of Mayberry-to-order enclaves in Chelsea, Quebec. Now, amid the usual chorus of boo-birding from the local NIMBYs and tree-frotteurs, he’s attempting an ambitious expansion into Ontario.

Sean most recently took his charm offensive to the duckberg of Roseneath to promote Lakeport Beach, 800 units of “human scale” development on what’s now prime farmland in the riding of Ontario Environment Minister Dave Piccini.

The locals peppered McAdam and sidekick Jules Ribbi with endless complaints about the fate of the wetlands and their rural backwater’s total lack of infrastructure to service the megadevelopment, absorb the extra traffic into its network of rural roads and busy railways, accommodate new kids into jammed school portables, etc., etc.

Inevitably, someone asked about the Hendrick Farm lawsuit (Franks passim) wherein 17 homeowners have sued Landgrab for shuttering the development’s namesake organic farm, star of all the marketing brochures and the key reason they’d shelled out $650-900K to live there. Last month Quebec Superior Court Justice Ann-France Gagnon rejected a feeble bid by Landgrab legalists to have the suit dismissed.

Sean, who allowed that the setback was “annoying,” has no choice but to endure these tedious encounters with the locals, ever since last year’s flubbed attempt to speed Lakeport Beach along with a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) from Municipal Affairs Minster Dave Clark.

These fuck-the-ducks decrees are a developer’s golden ticket past pesky environmental assessments, official plans and public consultations. And, once granted, they’re appeal-proof.

But despite thumbs-up from Alnwick/Haldimond Mayor Gail Latchford, who was fair drooling over a promised $8M in development fees from Landgrab, a council motion to ask Queen’s Park for an MZO failed last September in a one-vote heartbreaker. Council also rebuffed Sean’s attempt at a re-do.

The stakes are high: Landgrab paid a reported $12M for the Lakeport Beach lands, previously thought to be worth $3M, tops.

But McAdam had at least one friendly in the restive Roseneath crowd, his pet mayoral candidate, John Logel. The former A/H mayor could be blathering on about the scone breakfast Sean had so kindly hosted for him back at Hendrick Farm — much to his benefactor’s visible discomfort. McAdam, after all, has another hearing date next month, this time on election interference charges from Elections Quebec.

At issue, a 2017 full-page ad in the Low Down To Hull and Back News, an ‘open letter’ which was seen by Sean’s many detractors as a blatant attempt to tilt the municipal running of the reptiles toward his development-friendly candidates, notably Caryl Green, whose first campaign for Mayor of Chelsea Sean supported not only with cash but his services as her official agent.

Pip, pip!

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