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This is from her debut album, Failer, released in 2003 (she’d previously made a six song EP that was pressed to to the tune of about 500 copies). The record established her as one of the most authentically earthy writers on the scene, penning astute and insightful little short stories and character studies wrapped in catchy tunes that beguile to the point that you almost miss the acid sentiments in the lyrics. She’s never one to apply the sugarcoating, and a lot of her songs convey a sort of school-of-hard-knocks sensibility, hinting, perhaps, at the clinical depression that’s sometimes knocked her back on her heels. After a painful break-up in 2012, she quit making music for a while, and opened up a coffee shop called Quitters in the little town of Stittsville, just outside Ottawa. Now and then, a customer from out of town would wander in to tell her that her music had helped her through hard times, or changed his life, and eventually, lucky for us, the urge to get back to playing and composing returned. Her latest album, Total Freedom, was released last year to strong reviews. She still owns Quitters, though (always a good idea to have a fallback), and during the pandemic she and her band used it as a recording studio.

Westby is about a young woman losing her virginity to an older (one senses much older) man in a cheap motel, and she feels neither proud nor dirty, it just is what it is.  She muses that if he wasn’t so old, she might even keep him, might even introduce him to all her friends, but here’s the thing:

I don’t think your wife would like my friends.

After he falls asleep, she channel surfs for a while, then steals his watch on the way out. Here, There, and Everywhere, this ain’t. 

If Westby is your cup of tea, you’re bound to like Six O’Clock News, another standout track from Failer:

Just another happy-go-lucky number, this time about a loser gunned down in the street in front of his pregnant girlfriend. My kind of tune! Enjoy!

Veteran musician and novice barista Kathleen Edwards in her new venue, Quitters Coffee, on Stittsville, Ontario's Main St.
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