Jonathan Edwards Opens Season Four Of Flagpole Radio Café
By Kendra Bobowick
“The year was 1973 and I moved to Nova Scotia; I wanted off the grid, to raise a garden, live in a bus, and get back to my first love, the earth,” said Jonathan Edwards as he sat center stage for Flagpole Radio Café’s fourth season opener last weekend.
Telling stories and sharing his songs, Mr Edwards sat, barefoot, with his guitar, and held the audience’s attention on Saturday, September 17.
Minutes earlier Musical Director Jim Allyn had asked the guests filling the Edmond Town Hall theater and its balcony, “Are y’all ready to hear Jonathan Edwards?”
“Yeah!” was the reply.
Noting the “little ditty,” “Sunshine Go Away Today,” that Mr Edwards wrote years ago, Mr Allyn introduced Mr Edwards, who opened with his tale from Nova Scotia.
He next spoke of his time “working with horses, and one young filly in the woods on a beautiful day … I fell asleep and awoke with an enormous nose in my face.” His horse, Daylight, was nudging him. “I woke with the song fully in my head,” he said. It’s part of his new album. “I finally got the groove for it,” he said.
Mr Edwards also wrote a song, called “Johnny Blue Horizon,” for John Denver.
“He was a good man, and this is what I wrote, sort of my homage to his memory,” Mr Edwards told the audience Saturday night.
He also dedicated a song to hurricane victims who are “starting over and picking up and getting back to their lives.”
Filled with stories of everyday people and things, he closed with a tale of a man walking along the road.
“I was driving one day and it was kind of cold. He had one shoe, so I stopped and asked, ‘What are you doing?’ The man replied, ‘Nothing. And I am behind on that!’”
“So I asked him, ‘Did you lose a shoe?’ and he said, ‘No. I found one…’”
Reflecting on the show and Mr Edwards’s performance, Flagpole Radio Café Executive Producer Martin Blanco said, “I was impressed. I have got to go see him in concert again.”
Warming up the audience and performing throughout the evening was the café orchestra including drummer Rob Bonaccorso, bass player Rick Brodsky, Howie Bujese playing instruments including the viola, Dick Neal on instruments including the banjo, Jim Allyn playing guitar, and Francine Wheeler performing a solo and singing with the band.
The café’s Shakespeare Repertory Theatre includes Mr Blanco, Barbara Gaines, Kate Katcher, and David Wheeler.
This week, Mr Blanco said, “We’re very excited about the upcoming season.” On November 5 the guest artist will be Deborah Henson-Conant who will be playing jazz harp.
“She’s an extraordinary musician who plays the harp with a virtuosity that is matched only by her inventiveness,” he said.
Also coming up on December 3 is Patty Larkin, and on March 24 is Livingston Taylor.
“We’re making final arrangements for our February and May shows too. It’s very rewarding to present such an engaging variety of music to our town,” Mr Blanco said.
The café performance was underwritten by a generous grant from the law firm Stratton Faxon. The Flagpole Radio Café is a Newtown Cultural Arts Commission presentation.