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Kathleen Edwards: Of Fogerty and Fat Elvis

All it takes is a single line to make you fall in love with Kathleen Edwards' "I Make the Dough, You Get the Glory." Canada's answer to Lucinda Williams is reminiscing about her days banging out cover songs in bars, apparently with a crush-worthy guy who had magnetism to burn. All of which leads to that one line in the chorus: "You're cool and cred like Fogerty / I'm Elvis Presley in the '70s."

It's actually been a long time since John Fogerty was "cool," exactly — the late '60s, to be precise, when he flouted tie-dye and hippie robes in favor of flannel shirts. But never mind: It's a terrific line, complete with a pop-culture reference that's earnest rather than ironic.

The music that accompanies Edwards' words works on several levels. The swaying folkie honky-tonk evokes a hardwood-floor country bar, but reflecting its self-deprecating lyric, Edwards' delivery is docile. At the end of each chorus, she raises her voice, mildly, to belt out the song's title phrase, which implies the resentment that lingers beneath her self-loathing. In the end, she winds up balancing self-worth and self-pity — in other words, right between Fogerty and fat Elvis.

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David Browne
David Browne is a contributing editor of Rolling Stone and the author of Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth and Dream Brother: The Lives and Music of Jeff and Tim Buckley. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, Spin and other outlets.