I’ve worked with this week’s subject for a long, long time and seeing this year of madness and sadness is on the way out, I wanted to touch bases with him one last time to get his opinion on the effects and events of 2020. Singer-songwriter Jonathan Edwards has been around and active on the music scene for half a century now and his perspective on the pandemic seemed to be very necessary to me, so when he called from his winter home in Southwestern Florida last week I told him about my efforts to document the impact all this has had on the artists who create the music we all need nowadays.

Q: Would you be willing to share your views on this situation we find ourselves in nowadays?
Edwards: Do you have enough time?

Q: (Laughter) Yeah, I do!
Edwards: Well, first of all I’m basically heartbroken about what this pandemic has done to our lives and our spirits and our livelihoods, never mind our health and our welfare, and all the lives that are lost every day. It’s hard to find positive nuances in any of this. And then to know that so much of it could have been prevented, or at least mitigated, if we had some leadership at the top. As far as me personally, my wife and I are fortunate and lucky that we can spend some time at home and don’t have to go out 60 nights a year to perform and travel and do all the stuff that we did. I mean, everyone’s lives have changed, everyone’s on a new frontier of “What do we do now?!” I feel heartbroken for the venues that have stood by us artists for so long and have given so much to their communities and have provided so much positive energy to the world that are just having to close one after another. It’s beyond tragic. But, again, from my jaundiced, parochial point of view, I’m lucky that I can spend time being creative even though it has really no outlet now. I’m grateful that I can persevere to other forms of self-expression and creativity. I’m grateful for that in the midst of being heartbroken.

Q: Well, you have, and this is one reason I wanted to touch bases with you. You’ve been around for a number of years, and you have a perspective that I think would be valuable.
Edwards: Yeah, I hope so. If we can get this vaccine under control and get a certain amount of our lives back, but I don’t think it’s ever, ever going to be the same as it was. I don’t know; I hope I’m wrong.

Q: It is very depressing, but one of the things that has popped up in other interviews are those little silver-linings that artists have been finding. You mentioned one yourself about you and your wife being able to have time at home together. That’s something positive, right?
Edwards: Yeah, for sure.

Q: You also spoke about being creative with your time off the road; does this mean you’re working on some new songs or even a new album to follow up “Tomorrow’s Child,” the last CD you put out?
Edwards: I am. I’m in the midst of trying to figure out what to do with an eight-song selection that I’ve just finished in Portland, actually. I’m trying to get advice and find a path toward getting the music heard. I know it’s not going to be a pay-day of any sort but just to get it heard. That’s how I started this crazy racket, you know? That was exactly my motivation for bailing out of college in my last semester of my senior year, to be in a band and travel the county and the world playing my music for people and just hoping that it would get heard. I was astonished that it was being heard (laughter). So I’m kind of back in the same place from 55, 60 years ago.

Q: Have you thought about doing any livestreaming?
Edwards: You know, I’ve done a few over these past months through Zoom and other things, but I haven’t really enjoyed the Zoom experience so much. It seems a little more chaotic and very few people sound decent on it, in my estimation. It’s good to have your face out there; it’s good to have that camaraderie and “Hey, remember me?” business, but so far I haven’t really resonated with the whole Zoom technique of getting the music out there.

Q: Now back to those eight songs you have worked up, could you talk a little bit more about them?
Edwards: Sure, I’ve decided to make a very limited edition release of maybe a couple of hundred copies all signed and autographed, and personalized, if that’s what it takes. I want to see if I can raise some interest for such a thing on my mailing list, which is several thousand people. That might work to help get the music out. It’s the first collection of songs that I’ve ever put out that were all mine.

Q: Oh!
Edwards: I’ve always borrowed songs from people and have done a lot of covers over the years alongside my own songs, but this is my first time I’ve ever really made that a discipline to put this together. There are a couple of co-writes but mostly their my tunes that I’ve come up with.

Q: Does this project have a name yet?
Edwards: The album is called, “Right Where I Am,” which is the title song, and it’s about being shut in and doing the best you can, being happy in your own backyard.

Q: COVID inspired?
Edwards: Yeah.

Q: Now because of the fact that you are a part-time Mainer, is there anything, Jonathan, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Edwards: Yeah, just persevere, fellow Maine-iacs; we’re a strong people in that neck of the woods and we’re innovative, we are driven by right-thinking and love for each other and support of each other, and just persevere. We’ll get through this with that perseverance and that love.

For more information about the artist, visit jonathanedwards.net.

Lucky Clark has spent over 50 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.

 

filed under: