A truly amazing evening of songs, stories and insight is set for 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, as the legendary singer-songwriter Jonathan Edwards performs at the intimate confines of Johnson Hall in Gardiner. Known for such songs as “Sunshine (Go Away Today),” “Honkey Tonk Stardust Cowboy,” “Everybody Knows Her,” “Sometimes,” “Athens County,” and of course “Shanty,” this artist has been entertaining, enlightening and energizing audiences around the country and the world with his strong tenor voice for many years now. He’s also has a new album out called “Tomorrow’s Child,” which features Edwards surrounded and accompanied by Shawn Colvin, Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, John Cowan, Vince Gill, Joe Walsh and Maine’s own Don Campbell. On Nov. 20, I reconnected with this humble, gentle man to find out more about his life and his music that are so intertwined together. I began by asking him if songwriting comes easy to him.

Edwards: (Pause) Yes and no.

Q: Oh, one of those.

Edwards: Yeah. You know, some songs you can hardly write them down fast enough or hardly make the music fast enough, and other ones might take years.

Q: How about the ones you wrote on “Tomorrow’s Child” — did they fall into both categories?

Edwards: Yeah, I would say so. A couple of them are ancient songs for me. One of them, “The Girl From The Canyon,” I recorded with Emmylou (Harris) back in ’75. You know, Darrell Scott — genius wizard that he is — took them and said, “Let’s revisit these. There’s more stuff to be mined there.” So we mined them.

Q: And you hit a payload, too, I’ll tell you that right now.

Edwards: Well, thank you. I love that record very much.

Q: You know, I interviewed the late Bill Morrissey once and told him that his latest CD at that time was his best one yet, and he declared — in that dead-pan way of his — “That’s the whole point of it, Lucky: Every time you make an album, you make it better than the one before.”

Edwards: That’s the hope.

Q: Are you going to be touring in support of this new release?

Edwards: Yeah, we’re on the road right now south of Hartford.

Q: I understand that you have a few shows coming up in Maine, too, correct?

Edwards: Yeah, I’m really excited about that.

Q: One of those performances takes place at Johnson Hall. Have you ever performed there before?

Edwards: Yes, I have. It was incredible — a really warm, inviting and welcoming audience. They make you give it up and do your utmost best to reach them and engage with them, a very sophisticated crowd there in Gardiner.

Q: The way you pronounced it, “Gardna,” shows me that you’ve been living here in Maine for some time now. Does our fair state suit you?

Edwards: Yeah, we do love it; my wife used to stay here when she was a little girl. Yeah, we love it, although we spend a lot of the winter in a warmer climate.

Q: You’re wise beyond your years, sir.

Edwards: Well, my career just turned 50 a week ago Friday.

Q: Oh, wow — congratulations!

Edwards: Thanks, man. They had the celebration at Infinity Hall in Hartford (on Nov. 10), so I got (Jon) Pousette-Dart to come in and Aztec Two-Step, Liv (Livingston) Taylor and a bunch of other friends who have been with me a long time.

Q: Oh, man, that’s very cool!

Edwards: Yeah, it was amazing. My daughters came in from points all over the world and even helped me sing a couple of songs. The public really loved it — a DVD to follow.

Q: Now that I’ll be very interested in seeing.

Edwards: Yeah, me too.

Q: It must have been like a blur for you that night.

Edwards: Yeah, it kinda was. I was so into performance mode, I wanted it all to be right, that part of my emotional connection went into that.

Q: Back to Johnson Hall. Will this be a solo show for you?

Edwards: No, I have young Tom Snow, my amazing piano player. He’s the other half of my band.

Q: Okay, I’ll buy that. How long have you been working with him?

Edwards: Eight years and we still get along and love each other; it’s amazing. Somebody asked, “When was the last time you two played together?” And I looked at Tom and said, “Tonight.”

Q: How much time do you spend on the road nowadays?

Edwards: We do about 70 shows a year, between 60 and 80 shows in a typical year, which is about a quarter of what I used to do. I’m much more selective and much more invested in each and every show.

Q: When did “Tomorrow’s Child” come out?

Edwards: It’s been a couple of years now.

Q: Really? Are you working on something new?

Edwards: Always, yeah. I’ve got a new version of “Sunshine …” If you didn’t get the first time around that it was a political rant, then you will this time.

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

Edwards: Well, I love playing there at Johnson Hall, and I’m bringing the other half of my band. I really look forward to the show very much. It’s going to be a wild and crazy weekend. For us, we’re eagerly anticipating having a great time there, and that’s a money-back guarantee.

Lucky Clark has spent 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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