Jonathan Edwards scored a million-selling hit in 1971 with "Sunshine" from his self-titled debut album. It was the era of genre-straddling singer-songwriters whose eclecticism added to their broad appeal but made them hard to classify.
"During the early '70s," I wrote years ago, "many singer-songwriters were creating their own characteristic blends of folk, rock, and country music that did not fit into neat categories. Walk into your local music retailer today [if you have one!], and you may find Jonathan Edwards filed under Folk, James Taylor in Pop/Rock, John Denver in Easy Listening, and Jerry Jeff Walker in Country—distinctions that say more about the way these artists were marketed than how they actually sound."
The success of "Sunshine" drove Edwards into an intense, three-year-long tour schedule that took such a toll on him that he retired from music for a couple of years. Emmylou Harris coaxed him out of retirement, and he has been active ever since. He still continues to perform regularly, especially around New England.
I interviewed Edwards on July 27, 2001, when I was working on a reissue of his second album, Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy, which spent almost two months on the Billboard album chart when it was originally released in 1972. Many of my questions are about that album.
"Sunshine" had been a million-selling single. Did you feel a lot of pressure to create another hit?
Right, but he had had quite a history as a performer. He was one of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys in the early 1960s.
Did you enjoy a lot of freedom at Atco?
|Billboard, December 2, 1972|