Natalie Edelson
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Natalie Edelson

Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Musical graffiti by an urban refugee"

For one week each year in Northern Ontario, they come in droves and fill the towns with a fishy stench.

Piling up on roads and sidewalks, their crushed bodies, slicker than ice, actually cause collisions.

Here, in the Yukon, the first sign of these mouthless insects was much more enjoyable.

On a blue and teal background, reminiscent of seawater, a single mayfly hovers, poised in mid-flight.

Natalie Edelson's CD release poster put the flapping hodge-podge of colourful flyers around it to shame.

"Mayflies are insects that spend a long life in a larval stage", said Edelson.

"But once they become flies they only live for 24 hours, and I saw this as a metaphor for what a song is".

Songs are like little universes, but they are over in three minutes and then the little universe closes, and you are onto the next universe and the next song, she said.

Mayfly Days follows Edelson's journey through a series of musical universes, capturing the listener briefly in the orbit of each world she explores.

From Canyonlands, travelling through Colorado to Survivor on TV, where Mardi Gras, Lauderdale and waves end in subversion, Edelson takes listeners on an upbeat, poetic, political journey, with incredible, crystalline vocals and groovy instrumentation.

"We are all little filters in this world and we process our life experiences and the landscape here in the Yukon, the openness, it all means something that is unique to every single person who lives here" said Edelson.

However, the landscape is not her sole source of inspiration.

"I spent a fair bit of my life in a variety of capacities working on issues related to social justice and for me music was a way of still being political in a completely different way".

Organizing events and working for social change can be extremely tiring, and making music is a roundabout way of working on the same issues, but in a way that replenishes, she explained.

When Edelson first began recording Mayfly Days, it was only intended to be a three-song demo.

"I had no big goals, " she said.

It was more of a meandering path, which eventually led to a 13 song debut album, featuring 13 session musicians.

"It really surpassed my expectations, there were so many surprises" she said.

The Cuban clave-rhythm drummer Bob Johnstone and bassist Paul Stephens brought to Star or Satellite, a cool, driving tune on the CD, was a total departure from what Edelson had in mind.

"But these surprises often made the songs sound more like what I heard in my head, but couldn't articulate," she said.

Claiming to have absorbed a lot of her musical aptitude by osmosis, Edelson has been immersed in Whitehorse's musical community for many years.

A closet musician in her teens, she was more of a music appreciator than a musician proper.

"I never dreamed I would play music with people," she said.

"Coming up here I had lots of friends playing and went to lots of festivals and jam sessions."

Although she brought her flute to these jams, it often stayed in its case.

"I would only play it if the jam was so big that no one would hear me," she laughed, admitting she picked the flute in high school because it was the smallest instrument to lug home.

A camp cook in the summers, Edelson began using her free time in the winters to learn guitar.

"I wanted to have an instrument I could sing with and bring to the campfire."

And there is something about learning an instrument you didn't grow up with, so you don't have to play it 'properly', you can come into it with no rules, she explained.

"I never learned to strum and don't even use a pick."

Now, seven years after picking up guitar, Edelson does more than just play accompaniments around local campfires.

She has performed at festivals across the North and opened the Frostbite Music Festival in Whitehorse two years ago.

But still, Edelson hopes to remain anonymous.

"That way if I bombed no one would know," she said.

With a strong, rooted voice and melodies that seize the listener, placing them for a moment in a poignant, lyrical world, Edelson has little chance of bombing-- although battling her nerves has been an ongoing fight.

"I have been blessed with more than my share of nervous energy," she admitted.

"But I have found a way to use it in a more positive way."

Accepting her jitters, Edelson find they often energize her performance, and now reads her nervous energy more as excitement.

"We live in an environment that is very accepting and open to interpretation and it inspired me to express myself musically," she said.

A self-proclaimed urban refugee, Edelson finds her music and lifestyle compliment one another.

Living off the grid in a cabin just south of town, she has found the best of both worlds.

"I do have urban roots, and I don't think I would be happy living 300 kilometres from the next dwelling. I feel fortunate to have a cabin lifestyle and a city life-- you build the lifestyle that feeds the music, and then the music feeds your lifestyle and it just sort of goes from there".

Living with no power and no running water she finds lots of time to create songs.

"Or just stare out the window, depending on the day," she laughed.

After graduating from university in Montreal, Edelson went on an extended road trip with some friends.

They decided on Whitehorse, instead of Yellowknife after reading some local newspapers and noticing the dramatic difference in winter temperatures.

"Whitehorse was warmer and closer to Alaska, which was another alternative if we didn't like it," she said.

After three years here, she finally stopped subletting her Montreal apartment and decided to settle.

That was 12 years ago.

"Some of the biggest decisions we make, we don't even know we are making at the time," she mused, remembering her decision to go North, while sitting with two friends in an Alberta library.

Now, after teaching French, working as a barista, a camp cook for mining exploration, and on various social contracts, Edelson has settled into her job at Kaushee's Place.

But music is her calling.

"My music is my little piece of graffiti, my little 'I was here', and I hope that it will resonate," she said.

Edelson's CD release concert starts at 9 pm on Saturday at the Centre de la Francophonie, 302 Strickland St.

"I wanted it to be a reveillon, in the true French tradition," said Edelson.

"So there will be food after midnight."

Leah Nilsen and Tanya Groundwater are special musical guests.

Tickets are $15 at the door.

Contact Genesee Keevil at - Yukon News article by Genesee Keevil

"The slow burn of a Natalie Edelson song"

Natalie Edelson's Mayfly Days is like solar power: it plays 'til the sun goes down.

The album doesn't bust out and land a big hit single: there is no short fuse. The songs in this collection have a rather quiet and relentless energy behind them.

Think of a log in the stove that burns all night with that slow steady burn.

Conservation of energy and nature is prevalent lyrically as well as musically. Edelson has a compositional technique that takes advantage of her snappy fingerpicking style. A lot of the music is a variation of a cyclical style that is surprisingly groovy: that is to groove.

The sound is made lush by using varied arrangements; miking and mixing techniques balance the energy.

The close-miked Openings and Endings (and that hidden track thirteen) make for an extremely intimate performance. Both songs are beautiful examples of Edelson's control of her two main instruments: her voice and her guitar.

Edelson is not a screamer to be certain. Her voice maintains a breathy power able to punctuate subtle rhythms of the lyric while maintaining a rock solid cascade of notes from her guitar.

The album features some talented musicians who add their own unique footprints. Listen for Paul Stephens on bass and multi-instrumentalist Jay Burr.

Kim Barlow contributes background vocals that, in the headphones, spin around your brain giving the respective songs a nice little punch at the chorus. Ear candy perhaps, but I have a sweet tooth for such things.

The lyrical style that Natalie Edelson writes with seamlessly moves through time and space. Half focused train of thought and half first-hand observer, the lyrics read like a personal journal stuffed with scrapbook photos.

This album is a journey through loves and losses: chapters of well-remembered and always reflective
memories. That is the essential nature of Mayfly Days.

The heart, the embattled proxy of emotion, is well represented in a number of songs as a lone hitchhiker and "a heart so full it belches". In Great Whatever, the gal's heart gets "turned on a spit".

These are not to be read as dark, brooding tracts of sorrow. They are honest and, more often than not, witty reminders of the fragility of the human condition and the resilience of the individual to overcome and move forward.

These stories are sensual mouthfuls of wit, honesty and wisdom.

Could, "I'm still looking for the right wrong person who will make me feel like one transcendent part of the great whatever" be an example of postmodern folk music?

"What will it take to keep you here? Rock paper and scissors?"

Self-realization becoming "the road less traveled is to be alone" and "your exit marks a footprint on my littered beach of time" as a certification of fate? Deep thoughts and questions asked by Edelson.

Edelson uses the word "incandescence" to describe the past in Into Deep Blue, the first song on her album Mayfly Days. I would go further and derive the word "incandescent" to describe the whole CD.

- by Bill Polonsky/What's Up Yukon/May 5 2006

"Performance Review"

“A poised and charming performer who is rapidly gaining recognition in the Yukon and beyond”

- Kim Barlow, Songwriter. Performing Artist

"Performance Review"

“Outstanding performance”

- Vince Federoff, Whitehorse Star

"Performance Review"

“Well-crafted songs”

- Dean Eyre, Yukon News

"Performance Review"

"Edelson is a strong, competent musician with songwriting skills to match her stage presence"- Mark Prins, Whitehorse Star - Whitehorse Star

"Edelson's Mayfly Days reflects northern origins- by Alexander Varty"

Ani Di Franco has been responsible for encouraging a whole generation of female singer-guitarists, and nowhere has her impact been more quantifiable than in Whitehorse. In fact, the Yukon's capital's emerging crop of gifted female songwriters can trace its genesis back to the dreadlocked folk hero's headlining appearance there some years ago. Competition was fierce for the opening slot, which was eventually awarded to the Ladies Auxiliary, a popular cover band that included among its members Kim Barlow, Anne Louise Genest, and Natalie Edelson. According to Edelson, however, there was one little obstacle the Ladies had to overcome before the deal was done.

"The Frostbite Music Society, which was presenting the concert, said 'we only accept acts that have original music'" she recalls, on the line from her adopted hometown. "So at that point Kim Barlow piped up and said, 'Well, we've got to write some songs, then.' Very quickly, Kim had the confidence to go forth and make amazing music. and Anne Louise followed soon after that."

So, for that matter, did their friend Kim Beggs, another fine songwriter. But Edelson hung back, biding her time-- which came late last year with the release of her Mayfly Days CD. Barlow sings on it, and Genest is referenced in its first song: Whitehorse is a small town, and its creative types have to stick together. But it's also big enough that Edelson and her friends have each evolved their own individual style.

Sonically, Edelson is true to the acoustic guitar-driven approach of the artists who preceded Di Franco: she cites Spirit of the West as an early inspiration, and covers the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses".

"I was really interested in the music of the generation before mine," admits the Ottawa-born performer, who plays a New Music West showcase at Limerick Junction next Saturday (April 29). But Mayfly Days couldn't have been made anywhere else but the North. Its songs seem born of long nights and brief but sun-splashed summers; they protray a world of strong attachments tempered by the countervailing pull of wanderlust.

"A lot of those songs are possibly a reflection of my own inner road of restlessness," she explains. " I mean, we're displaced, many of us here. A lot of us have come here from other places, and there's a sense that we're building a community around values that are not necessarily the mainstream values that we were submerged in. But at the same time there's a sense of restlessness. We enjoy our community, but there's also a sense of longing; many of our families are scattered across the country, and you can feel a long way away from them."

In that light, Edelson's songs might be letters home, or postcards from a far-off place. They're certainly heartfelt and beautifully made; road-tested around kitchen tables and campfires, they speak strongly of love, friendship, place, and, especially, the heart. - Georgia Straight 20 April 2006

"Eddie Russell Review"

Review of Mayfly Days:
June 9, 2006

"A strong, distinctive voice with well-written material and perfect complimentary background music and audio... Good to know such talent exists in the Yukon"

Eddie Russell,
The Country Eastern/Outlaw for Peace radio show

Columbus, Texas
- The Country Eastern/Outlaw for Peace Radio Show

"German review by Frank Ipach"

Natalie Edelson Vocals, Guitar, Organ
Bob Johnstone, Ed White Drums
Paul Stephens, Carl Burgess Bass
Andrea McColeman, Jay Burr Piano, Organ
David Sinclair, Jay Burr, Jim Holland, Forrest Gibson Guitars
Bodra Elia, Kim Barlow Vocals
Produziert von: Jay Burr & Natalie Edelson Länge: 53 Min 50 Sek Medium: CD

1. Into Deep Blue 8. Nameless Wonder
2. Bordertown 9. Wild Horses
3. Survivor On TV 10. Great Whatever
4. Mayfly Days 11. Openings And Endings
5. Canyonlands 12. Weight
6. Grey On Grey 13. Paper, Rock, Scissors
7. Star On Satellite 12. Weight

Im äußersten Nordwesten Kanadas finden wir ein Fleckchen Erde namens Yukon. Dort leben grad mal 31.000 Menschen auf 482.000 Quadratkilometern. Kaum vorstellbar für uns Großstädter.
Welche Musik spielt man dort? Auf jeden Fall auch Folk und Singer-Songwriter-Musik. Denn die Künstlerin, die sich heute mit ihrem Debutalbum "Mayfly Days" vorstellt, hat sich genau diesem Genre verschrieben. Natalie Edelson gelangte zwar eher zufällig in die Gesellschaft professioneller Musiker, spielte sie doch lange Jahre nur Klampfe am Lagerfeuer und auf vollgepackten Jam-Sessions, wo sie dann 'kaum jemand wahrnahm'. Doch braucht sich Frau Edelson absolut keinen Kopf machen, ihre Kompositionen können sich wirklich hören lassen. Über die letzten paar Jahre intensivierte sie ihren Fingerpicking-Style, spielte zahllose Gigs im Norden Kanadas und ließ ihre zarte Stimme wachsen. Edelson singt ihre folkigen Weisen mit weicher, mädchenhafter Stimme und erinnert mit ihrem hauchzarten Timbre mitunter an die große Kollegin Nanci Griffith.

Der einzige Coversong auf "Mayfly Days" stammt von den ROLLING STONES. Wild horses wird sicherlich nicht zum ersten Mal gecovert, doch Edelsons superlangsame Version passt sich scheinbar mühelos in den Kontext der übrigen Schwebesounds ein. Sehr entspannt, so wie der Rest dieses wirklich unterhaltsamen Albums.
Nun ist "Mayfly Days" aber nicht nur ein auf Akustikgitarren und Stimme reduziertes Album, sondern überrascht hie und da mit groovigen und ruhelosen Rhythmen, die, wie z.B. bei Bordertown, die akustische Virilität einer DAVE MATTHEWS BAND beschwören oder sich, wie bei Survivor on TV, einer eher rockigen Variante verschreiben. Natalie scheut sich auch nicht, ihre Folk-Roots mit einem Track wie dem shuffelnden und swingenden Great whatever zu durchbrechen.

Edelsons Begleitmusiker rekrutieren sich aus dem Feld der Yukon-Community, die hier bei uns zwar niemand kennt, die aber unzweifelhaft einfühlsam und gekonnt unaufdringlich die unterschiedlichen Aspekte der Edelson-Songs zum Leben erwecken.
Am intensivsten wird es aber, wenn Natalie sich, einem Nick Drake nicht unähnlich, im knisternd melancholischen Titelsong Mayfly days ihren Erinnerungen hingibt und mit sparsamsten Mitteln eine zauberhafte Atmosphäre kreiert.
Nachzuhören und zu Kaufen bei CD Baby.

Frank Ipach, (Impressum, Artikelliste), 09.07.2006
- Home-of-Rock Magazine (Germany)

"Dutch Review by Leo Kaatestaart"

Een mayfly is een insect wat na een lang ‘leven’ als larve uiteindelijk tot leven komt om vervolgens slechts een etmaal te leven. Dit weetje diende als metafoor voor de songs van het debuut van Natalie Edelson. Met Mayfly Days (eigen beheer) scoort zij een debuut wat gehoord mag worden. Edelson vertelt in feite dat haar songs een lang ontwikkelingsproces hebben gekend en eigenlijk na zo’n minuut of drie alweer overgaan in een volgende song. En, deze jongedame uit Yukon, Canada heeft inderdaad het vermogen songs te smeden die ertoe doen; goed schaafwerk, derhalve. Ze beschikt daarnaast over een prettig stemgeluid; warm met soms een lichthees randje. Soms wat (te) lieflijk ook. Onder andere in opener Into Deep Blue klinkt haar stem enigszins familiare aan die van Nanci Griffith, een vergelijking die overigens zeker niet voor de gehele cd opgaat. Nee, het is vooral Edelson zelf die een poging onderneemt om binnen het segment der vrouwelijke singer/songwiters haar eigen plek te veroveren. Welnu, op dit dertien songs + bonustrack tellende debuut maakt zij vrijwel steeds duidelijk het in zich te hebben; gewoon een fijne afwisselende cd, die ook muzikaal gezien goed in elkaar steekt. Een mix van country en folk, soms met een rootsy, rockend randje; van ingetogen (de titeltrack) tot meer up-tempo, zoals Star Or Satellite. Jay Burr zorgt als mede- producer tevens voor support op gitaar; orgel en backingvocals. De verdere ondersteuning is verdeeld over diverse capabele inleenkrachten, zoals: Jim Holland en David Sinclair (el.gitaar); Paul Stephens (bass) en Bob Johnstone (drums). Edelson kan zelf eveneens goed overweg met diverse snaren, getuige haar gitaarspel in het fraai klein gehouden Openings and Endings. Behoudens een Stones- cover, het vrij traag neergezette Wild Horses, liet deze Canadese al het overige materiaal uit eigen pen vloeien. Weliswaar songs met de voor dit genre gekende thema’s, maar wel degelijk onderscheidend. Kortom, Natalie Edelson heeft zeker potentie. (Leo Kattestaart)
Mayfly Days is onder meer verkrijgbaar via CdBaby
- Leo Kaatestaart


"Let the Rain" new single to be released Aug '08
Mayfly Days (CD) released November 2005
Survivor on TV (single on Yukon Women in Music Compilation CD 2004)
6-Song Demo 2003
"Star or Satellite" chosen for juried website
Session musician (piano) for Rainee Godwin recording (2000)



Influenced by traditional and contemporary folk/roots resonances, Natalie Edelson seamlessly meshes the human and physical extremes of the Northern landscape. Oscillating from the mundane to the whimsical through all points in between, her songs poignantly distill the off-the-grid experiences shared by urban refugees. Richly textured melodies envelop stark imagery. "A cross between acoustic and restless", the result particularly satisfies those with a craving for something bittersweet.

Born in Ottawa and politicized in Montreal, Natalie Edelson made the Yukon her home in 1991. A musical journey that began with flute and piano has since gravitated towards acoustic and electric guitar. Her fluid and innovative fingerstyle guitarwork is reminiscent of rhythm and melody piano-hands. Performing solo or with accompaniment, Natalie Edelson creates and maintains a unique intimacy with her riveted audience.

Natalie Edelson is a recipent of the FACTOR Professional Demo Award, as well as the Yukon Advanced Artist Award and Music Yukon Independent Recording Program Award. "Survivor on TV" appears on the Yukon Women In Music Compilation CD (2004). "Star or Satellite" appears on the juried "Dig Your Roots" website (

Natalie Edelson's debut self-released CD, Mayfly Days, is available for purchase at and at