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Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards' father is Leonard Edwards, a former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Kathleen spent portions of her teenage years in Korea and Switzerland and her continuing nomadic experiences inspired the title of her fourth album, Voyageur. She explained to UK newspaper The Sun: "Despite my early determination to root myself somewhere, I've found myself always in a new place. And so much of my identity is where I'm from. I used to go on canoe trips every summer in Northern Ontario and we were called the Voyageurs. It just hit me like a lightning bolt when the album was suddenly finished how much I still identify with that person. And the life I live. And longing to be home again."
Edwards wrote this song on the piano. She told The Sun the story behind it: "I continually had this image in my head of this forested area across the street from the house where my parents live. As a child I would cross the street and play in the forest. There was a stretch of pine trees that had grown tall and were untouched and protected by the elements and so all the needles that would fall lay on the forest floor. When you walked through the trees, your feet would sink down like walking on a cloud. So I wrote the chorus with this image, 'I'm looking for/A soft place to land/the forest floor/the palms of your hands.'"
Edwards co-produced Voyageur
along with her boyfriend Justin Vernon, who is the mainman of Indie Rock band Bon Iver. He also contributed backing vocals and various instrumentation to the record. According to Vernon, his song "Beth/Rest
" prophesized his relationship with Edwards before it happened.
Edwards and co-writer John Roderick won the 2012 SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) ECHO Songwriting Prize for this song. The prize was awarded after a total of nearly 17,000 public votes were cast for the five nominated songs, which had been determined by a panel of Canadian music experts. Said 2012 ECHO panelist Brad Wheeler: "Edwards' 'A Soft Place to Land' is a victory of transcendent emotion and grace, an affecting, clear and memorable waltz-time appeal. As such, ECHO is represented perfectly."
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