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"Who's Counting" by Kat Edmonson Reviewed

One, One Picture taken By Kat

One, One Picture taken By Kat

Over the length of an album the 31 year old Kat Edmonson’s voice can get a bit much: she says she is trying to emulate a musical instrumental and compares it to the way Billie Holiday wanted to sound like a horn and indeed she does sound a little like Lady Day but without the bruised tenderness. It can arrest the ear for a song or two, for an hour or two it sounds awful effected. So it is a good thing we’re only discussing a song, four, four minutes. But who’s counting?

Off her new album The Big Picture, Kat said she said sometimes imagines other people singing her songs and on “Who’s Counting” the last song on the album she was listening to Paul Simon’s Graceland, and she wasn’t imagining African Skies, but the scat that ends the song has tribute to Simon written in block letters.

Maybe the sentiment as well, “searching for something to which I can relate” is the first line, and there is a slight “Homeward Bound” vibe as Kat, on tour in Europe when she wrote it takes stock of her life as a list of numbers with the most important number “we’ve shared two, two anniversaries together” addressed to her partner.

The song is a beauty: a very wise rumination on the impermanence of things, shaking down time with a Bible reference (actually the Bible doesn’t say it, but it means it) “we don’t know how many days we have here that we’re not promised” and the futility of shoring them up is self evident. Kat spends the song counting things and then not counting things, noting her ability to screw stuff up “it’s been one tired life of miscalculations”) and also the way life moves. It has a kernel of a deep truth here.

Indeed, it sounds like what it is, on a plane on a 5000 mile trip, Kat is looking back, and wondering forward but stops herself, with a wiseness she wonders “who’s counting anything at all?” and she is taking us with us, a steady beat and love horns on the bridge a finger pucked guitars somewhere in the mix for the second verse and her singing sounds like thought and also like a sharing with a boyfriend, the babe in question…

Two years: long enough to be serious but not long enough to be life long, long enough to wonder what next, and the song puts the guy ease, it’s telling him and her and us, not to worry, it is really written in sand. “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  This is the heart of Kat’s advise on a gorgeous song which makes me feel a little sad because really, everything is so here and gone that in the end all is left is a lovely melody and a pop MOR ballad which sounds like Paul Simon might have written it, and will be there when our counting is done.

Grade: A+

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