An interview by Jeff Niesel that appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune…
When FROST melts, she writes about it
It’s not hard to get singer-guitarist Edith Frost to talk about her personal life. She freely discusses the divorce and the short-lived relationship that made her life so difficult that she moved from New York to Chicago.
On her self-designed Web site, she actually had to discontinue her diary entries because she was including too many details from her everyday life, writing explicitly about her friends and her dreams in order to create a "virtual Edith."
"I keep thinking I should be more restrained, but I just blab," said Frost, who makes her San Diego debut (her touring band includes bassist Ryan Hembrey and drummer Jason Adasiewicz) on Sunday at the Casbah. "I just keep talking where I should shut up. But I feel like what I’m divulging is not anything that I mind if people know about.
"I talk about how I feel about things. There are some things I wouldn’t want to talk about — like finances — but talking about emotions and what I’m going through doesn’t bug me."
In keeping with her personality, Frost writes openly about her feelings of abandonment and emotional loss on her 1997 debut, "Calling Over Time," an album that, for the most part, centered on her divorce and the monthlong fling she had afterward. Recorded and mixed by Gastr del Sol’s Jim O’Rourke — who also plays guitar, violin, pedal steel and piano — the album features gentle piano, soft guitar and occasional drums, all of which create a beautiful but sad ambience.
"It was a real aftermath record," Frost said. "I think half of the songs on ‘Calling Over Time’ are about this one-month relationship I had right after I broke up with my husband. That one just killed me. I was heartbroken. Looking back on it, I have to laugh. It’s weird how you can be with someone four years and come out strong, and a one-month thing can stomp on your heart."
With "Telescopic," an album produced by Adam and Eve (a.k.a. Royal Trux’s Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema), the tone of the music has shifted. Not necessarily upbeat, the album features snarling electric guitars and occasional swirls of synthesizers; as a result, Frost often sounds more like Julee Cruise than Joni Mitchell.
"At the time, Calling Over Time sounded produced, and it was only in retrospect that it sounded so stark," Frost explained. "With the new record, there was really no direction to go but to add more instruments. We recorded in the same amount of time, six days."
Despite the better production, you can still hear strains of Patsy Cline in Frost’s voice. Born in San Antonio, Texas, Frost, who also spent several years as a child in Mexico, actually got her start singing in rockabilly and country bands. At one point in the early ’90s, she played in four different bands in New York.
"I totally miss doing the country songs," she said. "The one band I miss the most is the rockabilly band. It’s just really fun, joyous music to play and would get people dancing, which you don’t get with the kind of music I play now. That was a rush. I still play that stuff and I’ll throw those songs into sets that I do.
"I did a gig at this place in Chicago called the Hideout, and they didn’t care if I did old country tunes and not Edith Frost songs. It was a blast. I almost like it better than my own stuff."