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Kat Edmonson returns to the Bay Area / The Mercury News

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It's been more than five years since Kat Edmonson performed in the Bay Area, playing a morning set at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass back in 2013. She's been busy ever since. With an unmistakable voice that's equal parts ingenue and worldly, Edmonson has carved out a singular niche as a songwriter steeped in the sounds of Tin Pan Alley and Broadway. But rather than mining the American Songbook for material, she's developed an enchanting body of original songs that channel the zeitgeist, circa 1938. Rather than composing from the piano, she catches melodies wherever she happens to find herself. "I hear everything in my head, even the production of the song, a harp part here, a flute there. It's like I'm being presented with it," says Edmonson, 35, who performs Jan. 18 at SFJazz Center and Jan. 19 at Montalvo's Carriage House.

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