ALEX COHEN, host:
Back now with Day to Day.
Ms. KATHLEEN EDWARDS (Singer, songwriter): I'm just going to tune one second and then...
COHEN: And Canadian singer and songwriter, Kathleen Edwards.
Mr. COLIN CRIPPS (Guitarist): Did you get a couple more harmonicas?
Ms. EDWARDS: Yeah. Oh, because I lost one, didn't I?
COHEN: That's her and her backup guitarist, Colin Cripps. The two are on tour right now for the release of the album, "Asking for Flowers." They recently took a break in Portland, Maine, to chat and share some music.
(Soundbite of harmonica)
COHEN: In addition to being band mates, Colin and Kathleen are also husband and wife. But, as Kathleen Edwards told me, that was a later development.
Ms. EDWARDS: Well, Colin was actually a fill-in when he first came on the scene, when I first met him. My usual guitar player was in Europe on a tour, and my manager said, well, there's this really great guitar player that you know of named Colin Cripps, and you can't afford him, but it's for a couple of shows, so let's see if he can come and do these shows. And as it turned out he had heard my first record and was interested in coming and playing. So, yeah, he came in and we rehearsed and he never left. And he's since, thankfully, lowered his rates.
COHEN: Did you guys worry at all, about OK, we're going to be romantically involved, but we work together?
Ms. EDWARDS: We didn't really have much of a choice.
Mr. CRIPPS: We save our lust for the stage.
Ms. EDWARDS: Oh, stop it!
COHEN: You two were kind enough to bring in your guitars to the studio today. I'm wondering if you'd play a song for us off this new album?
Ms. EDWARDS: Yeah, OK, we're going to play a song called "The Cheapest Key," and there's a little, there's a little cuss word in it, so get your delay sticks ready.
(Soundbite of song "The Cheapest Key")
Ms. EDWARDS and Mr. CRIPPS: (Singing) A is for all the times I bit my tongue. B is for (Expletive Bleeped) and you fed me some. C is for charity and now you're mine. D is for dollars but you're counting dimes. E is the exit sign backstage at shows. F is my favorite letter, as you know. G is for God loves a patient man who spends his days living in ego-land.
You always write it in the cheapest key. You always blame it on the cheapest key. You always play me in the cheapest key.
COHEN: Thank you so much for that. That was great. There's a number of songs on that album, that was one of them, that have words in them that we couldn't even say on National Public Radio because the FCC would be very upset with us, and I'm curious for you, as a songwriter, if that's ever an issue. Whether or not to include bad words knowing you might not get played on the radio.
Ms. EDWARDS: I do love a good swear word. I just like to...
Mr. CRIPPS: You need to use it carefully.
Ms. EDWARDS: Yeah. You pick your moments. I'm not a - my camp counselor once put it like this. She said, the reason that you swear a lot is because you're not smart enough to fill in the blanks with words that you don't know. And I thought that was actually a great point. And from that point forward I realized I didn't want to be gratuitous in my cussing. And that it actually is a lot more interesting to have words that, you know, have the same meaning, but, you know, they're legal. And, you know, I don't exclude words for the sake of the sentiment or the intention in a song, and "The Cheapest Key" is a perfect example.
COHEN: There's a song on this album called "Alicia Ross." Let's take a little bit of a listen to that.
(Soundbite of song "Alicia Ross")
Ms. EDWARDS: (Singing) I am a girl with a forgettable face. No matter my color, no matter my name.
COHEN: This song is based on a story that's a true story that took place in Canada. What happened, and what about that incident inspired you to write the song?
Ms. EDWARDS: Well, it's a really hard song even to talk about sometimes because my intention is never to get exposure for myself through a tragedy of somebody else's. There was a young woman named Alicia Ross in Toronto who went missing one evening, and as it turned out she had been killed by one of her neighbors. And part of the reason I think I was so struck by this story was because I really just saw my mother, you know, how could a parent get up out of bed every morning after knowing that that's the fate that their child met? And all the years they spent, you know, nurturing their child and trying to keep them safe, and protected, and I did name the song after this specific girl, but I think in a way, too, it's a song that I wrote for all of the people who go missing every year.
Ms. EDWARDS: (Singing) Inside of this moment there are things I wish I could know like your ring size, and my ring size, the hour I was born.
COHEN: The two of you are on tour here for the next couple of weeks. Is there a certain thing that you're most looking forward to doing here in the States?
Ms. EDWARDS: Sampling all of the wonderful cuisine from city to city!
COHEN: Is that a tinge of sarcasm I hear?
Ms. EDWARDS: No, not at all!
Mr. CRIPPS: No, no!
COHEN: OK, good! Can you give us some samples?
Mr. CRIPPS: Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Ms. EDWARDS: I'm a vegetarian, but I will put down my vegetarian card for the Ruben at Zingerman's Deli.
COHEN: Kathleen Edwards, the new album is "Asking for Flowers." Kathleen Edwards and Colin Cripps, thank you both so much for coming in to the studio.
Ms. EDWARDS: Thank you.
Mr. CRIPPS: Thank you.
(Soundbite of track from "Asking for Flowers")
Ms. EDWARDS: (Singing) Inside of my little brain. You're cool and cred like Fogerty, I'm Elvis Presley in the 70's.
COHEN: If you'd like to hear some full versions of the songs that they played live go to npr.org/daytoday.
(Soundbite of song "I make the dough, you get the glory ")
Ms. EDWARDS: (Singing) You're the buffet I'm just the table. I'm a Ford Tempo you're a Maserati. You're the great one, I'm Marty McSorley. You're the Concorde, I'm economy. I make the dough but you get the glory.
BRAND: Day to Day is a production of NPR News with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand.
COHEN: And I'm Alex Cohen.