Resilient songstress releases another album

Nicole Edwards can't play her guitar anymore. But she's still making music. Her most recent CD, Sage and Wild Roses, is her fourth album. It is being released this Friday, and she considers it a milestone.

Nicole Edwards can’t play her guitar anymore.

But she’s still making music.

Her most recent CD, Sage and Wild Roses, is her fourth album. It is being released this Friday, and she considers it a milestone.

“There was a period where I was quite sick and all I was really doing was getting through,” she says. “I stopped writing. I didn’t know how to fulfill those ideas without an instrument. I ended up approaching Dave Haddock about co-writing.”

This is the first time Haddock and Edwards have collaborated like this.

In just over a year, the two have played some small gigs and recorded 14 tracks.

Generally, Edwards would bring the words and basic melody and Haddock would accompany, filling them out.

“It was malleable,” he says. “But she brought that raw idea. We made an effort to have things musical and danceable and have a good groove … because it’s hard to be that raw. It’s difficult for people to take in. So if you give them something that allows them to appreciate the experience in a musical way then the idea behind the song gets in sort of surreptitiously and it doesn’t feel like its just someone talking about their problems.”

Edwards has a rare disease called scleroderma, which, in her case, causes a build up of collagen that causes a hardening of the connective tissue, or a tightening of the skin. It affects her face and hands the worst.

Edwards’ hands are now deformed. She can’t bend her fingers and, along with severe fatigue, her mobility is greatly diminished.

There is no known cause or cure.

But the key is to adapt, Edwards says.

Finding new ways to do things and think about things: like collaborating with people and being open to co-writing – it’s rewarding as much as it is challenging, she says.

Plus, the type of music really helps.

“Blues is an excellent genre to be able to let stuff out,” Edwards says.

More Than A Diagnosis Blues is one track Haddock did not co-write and, as Edwards says, it let her vent, as well as rock out.

The overall R&B feel on the album is a bit of a return, she says.

Her first few albums were all over the place, mainly drawing on elements of rock and pop, she says.

And then she got into jazz.

While she hasn’t retired her jazz hat, this CD lets Edwards explore music that really makes her groove and dance, she says.

Edwards is not from Memphis, but the blues have always felt natural.

“I’m this petite, white girl who grew up in Northern Ontario listening to CBC radio,” she says, laughing. “But somehow I ended up feeling the blues.”

However, not all the CD’s tracks delve into her battle with the health industry and her own sickness.

Her passions for gardening and cooking find melody in some tracks while others bluntly embrace her ever-optimistic outlook on life.

And this is the first album that is really funny, she says.

“Maybe it’s just me laughing at my own jokes,” Edwards says, pointing out a few lines and double entendres.

The track Grumpy Pants, for example, makes light of the hard days of living with such a draining condition.

“I’m not writing fiction,” she says. “But I don’t like the way it sounds: that it defines me. I guess that’s what I’m fighting against. It’s an undeniable aspect of who I am and I live with this loss and limitation, but I think being able to write about the experience puts it in its place.”

“I think she’s amazing,” says Haddock. “It’s hard not to think about it and be aware of it and wonder, ‘Wow, how would I deal with that?’ because it seems like an overwhelming thing. Obviously it’s difficult, but she keeps doing her music and keeps making it happen.

“In spite of everything, she’s still living her life and loving the people around her and making music and finding the joy in it – in the midst of the pain – which we all need to do. She’s a great example.”

And one that Haddock has started to follow.

The musician, who has been a professional in the industry for over 30 years, admits he has let songwriting slip from the forefront of his work.

After working with Edwards, Haddock has been inspired to start writing again, for himself.

Being unable to do a national tour is another setback Edwards has to accept, but again, she is making the most out of what she can do.

In April, while on her regular, biennial trip to Ontario for alternative health treatments, Edwards will be having two CD release shows: one in Toronto and another in her home town of South River.

And this summer she plans on doing a small tour of the territory and Alaska, she says.

But there are no dates or places set yet.

“I don’t want to be too far away from my garden this summer,” the songstress says, chuckling.

The CD release, this Friday, will be at the Old Fire Hall.

Advance ticket sales are available at Aroma Borealis and Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters. They cost $22 for adults and $17 for youth.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Brandon Isaak will open the show at 8 p.m.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An avalanche warning sigh along the South Klondike Highway. Local avalanche safety instructors say interest in courses has risen during the pandemic as more Yukoners explore socially distanced outdoor activities. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)
Backcountry busy: COVID-19 has Yukoners heading for the hills

Stable conditions for avalanches have provided a grace period for backcountry newcomers

Several people enter the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Coast High Country Inn Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 26. The Yukon government announced on Jan. 25 that residents of Whitehorse, Ibex Valley, Marsh Lake and Mount Lorne areas 65 and older can now receive their vaccines. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Vaccine appointments available in Whitehorse for residents 65+

Yukoners 65 and older living in Whitehorse are now eligible to receive… Continue reading

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read