Five questions for Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards: After four decades of delivering songs of passion, insight and humor, Edwards is often found on the road doing what he does best, playing live in front of people. The musician is known for classics such as "Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy," "Sometimes," "One Day Closer," "Don't Cry Blue," "Emma," "Everybody Knows Her," "Athens County," and "Shanty." His 1971 hit "Sunshine (Go Away Today)," resonated with thousands of frustrated young men and women as a rally cry for independence. Edwards, whose newest CD 'Tomorrow's Child,' is on sale now, will take the stage at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Mass., at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6. He took some time to answer a few questions before he rolls into town next week:
1. You started your career in a band, but eventually opted to go solo. What was the driving force behind that decision?: I love sharing music with other musicians and that is what initially inspired me to pursue the skills and abilities required to participate and contribute to a "band." But when I started being more of a writer and leader, I naturally wanted to be more influential in the direction my music was taking and going solo was way more expedient and direct an approach to my burgeoning creativity.
2. Your biggest hit, "Sunshine" was originally not on your album "Jonathan Edwards." What moved you to finally include it?: It was actually a bit accidental that this song was included. My overworked engineer inadvertently erased another song we had been working on all day and urged me to put "Sunshine" on the tape in its place. I added all the other instruments that night and the next day we overdubbed drums and that's the cut you hear.
3. Growing up, what artists were your influences?: Otis, Ray, Aretha, Woody, Fats, all the R&B groups of the '50s, and then later, Dylan, The Beatles and especially the Byrds.
4. You have been a folk artist for years, but there is a very "country" flavor to a lot of your songs. How would you describe yourself?: That was another reason I decided to go solo ... the band I was in, which had a couple of very gifted and inspired writers, was louder and more electric than I wanted to be. I've always loved the sound of acoustic instruments and understandable vocals and so bluegrass influences soon emerged to enable me to prefer the sound of bronze strings on rosewood and spruce instead of steel strings on magnets. I've also always gravitated toward the people who live close to the earth, the seasons, the fields and the forests; so "country" ideals and values are very real to me and the simplicity of that music beats within my heart. I am a dyed in the wool, un-catagorizable, tweener who loves almost all truly inspired, honest, authentic songs that bring emotions to the listener. Some stories need to be told, some thoughts need to be delivered and expressed through music. Someone once called my music, "hard folk." I just call it mine.
5. What is the meaning of "Sunshine" to you? What were you trying to say when you wrote it?: I prefer to let my songs and my artwork speak for themselves. Suffice it to say that the late '60s were difficult, demanding and dangerous times for my generation as well as innovative, creative, conscious and beautiful times that inspired dreams that with enough like-minded people maybe change for the better could be imagined and achieved. Those dreams are still alive in many of us today. Thanks for listening!
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