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More than 'Sunshine' in folk singer

WANT TO GO?

Jonathan Edwards with Sasha Colette

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Clay Center Walker Theater

TICKETS: $18

INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.orgCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On Saturday night, singer/songwriter Jonathan Edwards comes to the Clay Center for the Woody Hawley Series. Local songstress Sasha Colette opens the show.

Edwards, best known for the 1972 hit "Sunshine," has been in near continuous motion before and after the song climbed into the Top 10 on the pop charts. He's played a lot of shows but mostly stayed away from the recording studio, particularly over the last decade. He's never stopped writing, though.

Gazz spoke to Edwards to see what he'd been up to lately and where he's been.

Q. What's your newest thing?

A. "I've got an album that's been out for a year and a half now called, 'My Love Will Keep.' It's my first studio album in 14 years.

"It was just time to get one going, to write some songs, find some songs, and that's what I did. So far, the people are loving it. The record has been flying off my shelves.

"I also decided to do a compilation/Best of album called "Jonathan Edwards Top 40." That's a two-CD box set of 40 of my most requested songs."

Q. During the 14 year interlude between studio albums, did you stop writing?

A. "I'm always writing. I just neglected to make that next step and compile an album.

"When I made a new album, I didn't want to rock it too hard because people love what I do in a show, which is show up and play an acoustic guitar. I wanted to welcome people to my sound and new attitude, and I think that's what I did."

Q. A lot has changed since "Sunshine." Has your choice of material changed much?

A. "I can't say that it has, not in a conscious way. I'm still using the same acoustic instruments I always have. I like a lot of vocal harmony, the same kind that I grew up singing.

"As far as subject matter, I'm always writing about what occurs to me, what's in the news, what's in my heart or what's in my mind. Relationships, of course, are pretty fertile ground, but I write a little bit about geography, a little bit of history, whatever I feel like.

"[That] is a great thing about being a songwriter. You can just create an entity out of thin air. It's really such an enriching thing to my own life and hopefully to the listener."

Q. You started playing guitar while you were in military school. How did that come about?

A. "At the time, I had never seen a guitar up close. The kid in the next door happened to have one. I picked it up and the angels sang, the clouds opened up, and I'd found something that made complete sense to me.

"I felt the power of it right then, and I never looked back."

Q. What's ahead for you?

A. "Well, we're doing 60 to 80 shows every year and loving life, grinding up and down I-955. I'll be doing some shows with my daughter, Grace, who is back in my life from France.

"She's pursuing an American identity for her music, but she's done really well in France. I'm helping to introduce her to American audiences.

"Summer looks pretty busy, but I hope to record more in Nashville with some big names, bigger names than me, that's for sure. I'll guess we'll see."

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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