Kathleen Edwards blossoms on her new CD 'Asking For Flowers'

Kathleen Edwards sometimes struggles with intonation, takes breaths in awkward places and sings above her limited range.

Yet the Canadian's voice is the ideal delivery system on "Asking For Flowers," because she comes across as authentic. An example is the title cut &

when Edwards sings "10 years I've been working nights," she sounds like someone who has been working nights for 10 years.

Edwards merits comparison to another quavery alto, Lucinda Williams, because both have a fondness for electric guitars, a knack for narrative and an engaging ability to strike a pose tender or tough &

or both. On one sweet ballad Edwards sings about her "hot pink chenille housecoat," but the song title is unprintable.

That tune is one of 11 on "Asking For Flowers," and unlike your average floral arrangement, there's not a dud in the bunch. Highlights include the murder ballad "Alicia Ross," the topical, slyly titled "Oh Canada" and the mostly instrumental "Goodnight, California," reminiscent of fellow Canadian Neil Young. Also terrific is the clever "I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory," where Edwards earns bonus points for her reference to Marty McSorley.

It's easy to imagine Lucinda Williams singing these songs, but she would be hard-pressed to improve on them.

CHECK THIS OUT: "Alicia Ross," sung from the perspective of the victim, is artfully done and worthy of the rich folk tradition for such songs. Edwards avoids melodrama and leaves details to the imagination of the listener.

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