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Jonathan Edwards

Singer-Songwriter Q&A

How old were you when you started playing guitar?

I was about 12 or 13 and just enrolled in Military School!

What was your first guitar? Did you buy it yourself? Do you still have it?

A $29 Kay guitar from Sears. My adoptive dad bought it for me and called it Christmas. I do still have it! It hung for years in The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland.

Did your parents or grandparents play any instruments? If so, what did they play? Did you ever get a chance to play with them?

My adoptive mom taught herself to play and read religious music on the piano. She and I sang and played the old hymns.

Jonathan with his mom.

What are the guitars that you play? Do you have a favorite? If so, why is it your favorite?

I usually bring a couple of gorgeous Taylor guitars with me on the road. I've got a 000-18 Martin that is my first "pick" around the house. She's got a sweet voice and a lovely feel.

Jonathan with one of his gorgeous Taylors. Photo credit: Jean-Paul Ribes

What strings do you use (brands and gauges)? How often do you change your strings?

I use Elixir Light/Mediums. I used to break a TON of Guild Mediums, so I would change them before every show! I've got boxes and bags of once-used strings. I'm going to donate them to some music-oriented charity. Any ideas?

Do you use a pick? If so, what brand and thickness?

I use a mostly triangular pick. I have my logo printed on each one and I like 'em thin. Clayton makes 'em, "Acetal" and "Ultem".

Photo credit: Pat Depuy

Do you use any effect pedals? If so, what are your favorites?

No effects for me!

Do you work on your own guitars or do you bring them to a guitar tech? Are there any guitar techs that you would like to recommend?

Joel Amsden, Kennebec Instruments, Brunswick, ME.

At what age did you start writing songs?

I wrote what I call poetry when I started High School, then came guitar, then came the songs.

What is your songwriting process? Is it the music or the lyrics that usually come to you first? Do you write old school on paper, or electronically?

When everyone's asleep, I write things that move me, things that rhyme, things that work. It's usually the best methodology when music and lyrics show up at the same time...they write each other. Lots of notebooks...piling up, next to the bed.

Who are the top three musicians or bands that have had a major influence on you?

The Byrds, Dylan, Beatles, Alison Krauss, the usual cast of characters.

If you could jam with one person, living or dead, who would it be?


What are your top three “desert island” albums?

Blonde on Blonde, Marley's Legend, Rumours.

What was the first concert you attended?

Harry Belafonte.

What was the last concert you attended?

Can't quite remember...

The Beatles or the Stones?


Where and when was your first paid gig? How much did you make?

The Union Bar and Grille, Athens, Ohio. $20!

What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?

The whole damn thing!

Photo credit: Donna Sanborn

What are some of the venues you enjoy performing at the most? What things make the venue enjoyable for the performer (location, equipment, setup, organizers)?

The Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield, ME and Jonathan's, Ogunquit, ME. The people, both behind the scene and the audiences. It's always the people.

Jonathan performing at Stone Mountain Arts Center.

How do you work out your setlist?

Start with an UP, then a medium, then a ballad, rinse and repeat.

Is there any advice you wish someone had given you when you were first starting out in the music business?

Don't sign away your publishing rights, no matter if it's a friend, or whatever they might say that's not in writing. At the end of the day, those little songs you wrote in 5 minutes, just might be the only property you are left with. Retain ownership no matter what the people say.

Do you have any suggestions for a guitarist or songwriter who might be stuck in a musical rut?

Ruts are for the road! Take them for a ride, find an audience, they'll let you know what wins and what loses. Keep 'em laughin', smilin', cryin', and above all, dancin'!

Photo credit: Terra Fermata Tiki Bar

If you weren’t a singer-songwriter, what would you be doing for work?

I never had a choice. My destiny became my avocation. I am creativity searching for a muse.

Photo credit: Susan Cannarella

Please list some of your upcoming shows, plug your music and provide links to your merchandise.

My most recent album is: "Right Where I Am."

My website is:

Photo credit: Mick Melvin


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