Seasoned folk singer-songwriters don’t grow old, they age gracefully like vintage wine. Legendary folk singer-songwriter Jonathan Edwards, the man who captured the consciousness of a nation at war with his timeless 1971 hit, “Sunshine,” returns to recording with a new album that once again taps into the thoughts and feelings of a society at a crossroad.
Right Where I Am, to be released June 18, is Edwards’ first album of all self-penned songs in 50 years. The album was clearly the creative product of the pandemic-forced lockdown when touring-ready Edwards was exiled to a lengthy home vacation. Recording began in Spring 2020 with sessions at producer Don Campbell’s home studio near Portland, Maine. Campbell engineered the sessions, played bass, electric guitars, programmed drums, and sang harmony vocals on half of the album’s eight tracks. The other four cuts were recorded during Summer 2020 at Acadia Recording Company with engineering and guidance by Todd Hutchisen.
The songs are quintessential Jonathan Edwards, all of them effervescent nuggets that showcase his crisp blend of folk, country, and pop. Among the highlights are “There Comes a Time,” “Stingray Shuffle,” “Scars of Love,” and the title track. Playing with Edwards, who also co-produced the album, are Tom Snow on piano, Duane Edwards on A-bass, and Duke Levine on mandola and electric guitars.
“A couple of the tunes have enjoyed some time to mature in the barrel, like a taste of fine bourbon,” says Edwards. “A few more of them were finished right in the studio, fresh from my notebook. It was a fascinating process, laced with all kinds of spontaneity, like, ‘What if we changed a guitar song into a piano song?’ or ‘What would happen if we routed my acoustic guitar through my trusty Fender Twin Reverb amplifier?’ We had plenty of time to explore different, unique ways to convey the wide-ranging imagery and subject matter and grooves inherent in the songs themselves.”
Throughout a storied career that spans more than five decades, the 74-year-old Edwards has released 19 albums, both studio and live recordings, that earned him the reputation as a consummate songsmith and interpreter. He’s also enjoyed a healthy touring schedule that found him soaking up the adoration of audiences across the country. With the June 18th release of Right Where I Am, Edwards prepares to take the stage again. He already has a handful of shows booked with more to come.
“The inspired eight new pieces of music on Right Where I Am are meant to help us all navigate through these different and challenging times,” says Edwards. “The whole album was planted and grew organically, mostly during the locked-down summer of 2020. It is certifiably grass-fed, free-range, homemade and a lot of fun.”