If you’re a fan of the singer-songwriter genre then the name Jonathan Edwards should not be a new one to you. This soft-spoken, talented multi-instrumentalist has been entertaining and moving audiences since 1971 and his first solo self-titled album. Songs like “Sunshine,” “Shanty,” “Lucky Day,” “One Day Closer” and many more have defined a career that just keeps getting better. Edwards’ most recent release is a collection of fan and personal favorites that span that illustrious career and is called, appropriately enough “Top 40.” This double-CD compilation mines deep in his recorded works and was released on his own Rising Records label. He called me recently to chat about his life as a musician and the Kents Hill show at the end of this month.

Q: The last time we chatted was in 2010 and you were working on a new project “My Love Will Keep” which was recorded right here in Maine, I believe, and was released the following year.

Edwards: Yeah, and it was the first album I had recorded in many, many years, it’s my biggest seller, too.

Q: Where are you calling from?

Edwards: We’re in southwest Florida at this point in time. We’ve been spending the winters down here the last couple of years.

Q: I saw on your website that you have quite a few shows here in Maine in the weeks to come.


Edwards: Yeah, it’s a little over-exposed but we’ll make the best of it.

Q: Have you ever played at the Kents Hill venue before?

Edwards: I think so, and I can’t remember when exactly, but I think we played there before.

Q: Will this be a solo performance?

Edwards: I will be joined by my illustrious piano player Tom Snow, unless we can talk some other folks into joining us. We have an unbelievable musical chemistry together — it’s just a conversation we have in music for 90 minutes, it’s wonderful.

Q: And you have no lack of material to draw upon, that’s for sure!


Edwards: Well, that’s the challenge: to whittle it down to 90 minutes or two hours — and that’s a real challenge for me because there are so many songs that people know and love from 18 albums and there are so many songs that I want to do that may not fall in those 18 albums, so it’s a luxury problem. And I keep the songs in somewhat of a rotation — it’s not something you plan out it’s just the way it happens. I write a new set every night for every show because every show has a different feel and a different method to approach engagement with the crowd. I take that very seriously and every night is a different set, a different show. I’m really in love with what we’re doing on stage these days and so are the audiences and I’m so thankful for that.

Q: How long have you been working with Tom Snow?

Edwards: Five years now. I met him during the recording of “My Love Will Keep,” along with Joe Walsh, who joins us from time to time, and some other players that I had on that record that continue to delight and amaze.

Q: Having a piano as accompaniment gives a greater range and depth to the overall sound, as well, right?

Edwards: It does and not only is he a brilliant soloist but he’s also a brilliant accompanist and that’s not always an easy transition for people to make, but Tom’s really, really good at it.

Q: Do you write songs constantly?


Edwards: I do, some people sleep at night, I understand. I typically enjoy the quiet and solitude of getting up in the middle of the night and reaching for that card and pencil. I very rarely go to an instrument in the middle of the night, but I just write whatever’s on my mind that I’ve been working on in my brain that day. And from my heart, as well, not just stuff you think about but stuff you feel and stuff you let happen, and stuff that just swirls in your consciousness and outside your consciousness. It’s really challenging and fun to organize that in the written word.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Edwards: I would just like to express my gratitude for all these years, for each and every night, and my gratitude to the universe for being able to chase this musical path up and down Route 95 for 50 years, and people’s respect and admiration for live, authentic acoustic music. Oh, and my shows are unconditionally guaranteed, a money-back guarantee, if you don’t have a good time just come up to me afterwards, screw up all your courage and say, “You know what? I didn’t have a good time — give me my $20 back!”

Q: I bet that doesn’t happen!

Edwards: (Laughter) It hasn’t yet! (www.jonathanedwards.net)

Lucky Clark has spent more than 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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