“Oh hey, there’s Mary-Kate,” is what I would say if Mary-Kate Edwards were here right now. But she’s not. Mary-Kate Edwards does not frequent my grandparents’ basement. She’s usually somewhere on Hunter Street playing music or at Traill College, rushing around. I only ever really see her in glimpses. A quick wave or a fleeting Larry David-esque stop-and-chat. “Hi, How are you?” “Good” “Well, bye.”
MK is a busy lady—an enigma, if you will, and rightfully so. She’s talented as hell, and she’s been occupied with working on her latest EP, Blueberry Pie. It’s out! Well, almost. I got a chance to have an early listen.
The first track on the EP is the eponymous Blueberry Pie. Mary Kate sings sweetly over a pulsing piano. “Should I let the fire touch the wicker?” echoes gently. “My heart shaped like a half-empty picture” floats into your ears. A violin invades the track, but it does not take over. It blends with MK’s voice, adding a decadence to tune. Listening to Mary-Kate sing about Blueberry Pie reminded me of eating a crème brûlée at the Olde Stone. Her voice is subtle, it doesn’t overwhelm, but seeks to inform. The piano rises up from underneath like burnt sugar to pair with it. The violin skirts back and forth, like caramel drizzle. The first track is a sweet struggle. MK sings about love, maybe lost, definitey resistant. Doubts reside within, reminders can cause heart-break, and sometimes you can be lost by something as simple as Blueberry Pie.
The next song is titled Sophia. MK disclosed that the song was written for a close friend, and is also a veiled reference to the poem Silver by Sarah Kay. I love veiled references. I also love when things come full circle. When I asked Mary-Kate who she is as an artist, she responded by telling me that her music is “… feeling, it’s lyrical, slow and moody, and it is a reflection of my deepest inner thoughts. My mom is a pianist and my dad is a storyteller; I’m the love-child of the two.”
There is a line in the song that goes, “Sophia, you smell just like magnolias”. It is repeated several times, uttered with a piercing smoothness. All her music is written in more or less this way, but Sophia has a resonation to it. The accompaniment is not complicated. It is mainly a piano and a violin, but that’s all Mary-Kate needs. Her voice carries the weight.
Knowing the story behind the lyrics helps, but the song hits like a brick no matter your knowledge. It’s an ache to listen to, but one of those good aches, you know? When you cry around someone you love. Or get a little pain when you go for a run. The song hurts, but the song also heals. I hope to god she plays it Friday night.
The final song is titled Never Mine. The arrangement contains guitar, bass, a freaking accordion, and backup vocals.
“I’ve played many different genres and I’m a bit of a music fanatic: I really love Joni Mitchell, Leslie Feist, Billy Holiday and Norah Jones, but I also love Claude Debussy and Chopin.” You can hear the hushed sentimentality of Joni Mitchell, coupled with the influence of Debussy and Chopin in the first two tracks. With Never Mine, MK calls upon that Feistian (not Faustian) influence. The song is catchy. I am not gonna go for the 1-2-3-4 reference, because it is not like that. This song is catchy in its moodiness, in its reflection about impossible love, in its irrevocable element of pain. To make people want to sing along to that is truly a feat, and Mary-Kate achieves it here with ease.
You’ve been back at school for a week. Friday rolls around, and you’re wondering what you possibly could do on a Friday night… Somehow, you’ve managed to pick up Arthur Newspaper, and are reading through these words.
Really, what freakin’ excuse do you have now? Come on! Support your local music scene! It’s ten bucks, you get a copy of the EP, and you get to see Mary-Kate play these songs and more live! Plus, the opener is a three-piece act consisting of Adam ‘The Kid’ Tario, Andrew ‘Ace’ Vatcher, and Missy Knott—three performers each deserving a write-up of their own.
So get out there y’all—I’ll be there, and I’ll be shedding tears of joy. Join with me in the catharsis.