Warm as summer sunshine, real as the truth, and intimate as a long overdue visit between old friends… such is a Jonathan Edwards concert. Four decades into a stellar career of uncompromising musical integrity, the man simply delivers, night after night, songs of passion, insight and humor — all rendered in a pure and powerful tenor which, like fine wine, has only grown sweeter with age.
This is one veteran performer who is neither grizzled nor nostalgic. These days, Edwards is likely to be found on the road doing what he does best, which is playing live in front of an audience. “I’ve been concentrating on that and loving it,” he says.
An artist who measures his success by his ability to attract and take good care of an audience, Edwards maintains that it is the feedback he receives after his shows that keeps him going. “It is really gratifying to hear (someone say), ‘Your stuff has meant a lot to me over the years.’”
The “stuff” he’s referring to is a highly respected repertoire that includes song classics such as “Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy,” “Sometimes,” “One Day Closer,” “Don’t Cry Blue,” “Emma,” “Everybody Knows Her,” “Athens County,” and everyone’s favorite ode to putting a good buzz on, “Shanty.”
And then, of course, there’s the anthemic “Sunshine (Go Away Today),” that fierce proclamation of protest and independence that resonated with thousands of frustrated and angry young men and women when it was first released in 1971. Almost 40 years later, the song continues to be embraced by faithful followers and new fans alike.
Since ’71, Edwards has released 15 albums, including Blue Ridge, his standard-setting collaboration with bluegrass favorites, the Seldom Scene, and Little Hands, his collection of children’s songs, which was honored with a National Library Association award.
As for his latest, 16th album, Edwards says, “Young people that are getting back to the land and trying to get off the power grid encourage me. My next studio album will reflect some of those themes.”
Edwards’ music — the old and the new — will be the evening’s entertainment at My Father’s Place on Friday, May 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets are available by going to www.myfathersplace.com.
My Father’s Place in the Roslyn Hotel is located at 1221 Old Northern Blvd. in Roslyn.