Jonathan Edwards (born July 28, 1946 in Aitkin, Minnesota) is an American singer-songwriter and musician best known for his 1971 hit single “Sunshine“. In 1967, he and his band moved to Boston and played clubs throughout New England. With Joe Dolce on lead guitar, they played cover tunes as well as their own country blues originals under various names, including the Headstone Circus, St. James Doorknob, and the Finite Minds, and they made an album for Metromedia Records as Sugar Creek.
In the early 1970s, Edwards left the band and began performing as a solo acoustic artist. He would later recall:
I liked the sound of bronze strings on rosewood better than steel strings on magnets, and so I walked out of that club in Vermont, rented myself a van and PA system, and started traveling around the colleges in New England by myself, without gigs, just setting up in the lobbies of dormitories on a Saturday. Pretty soon I started getting a following.
Edwards began opening up for acts such as the Allman Brothers Band and B.B. King. He signed with Capricorn Records to record his first album, Jonathan Edwards (1971). We took about a year recording the first album—different times, different studios, different sounds, different techniques. Recording was so new in ’69 and ’70. There was a song on the album called ‘Please Find Me’, and for some reason the engineer rolled over it. It got erased. We spent hours looking for it. We fired the engineer and put “Sunshine” in its place.
Like most of the songs on Jonathan Edwards, “Sunshine” was written shortly after Edwards left the band. “I felt really fresh, really liberated,” he later recalled. “I just went out in the woods every day with my bottle of wine and guitar, sat by a lake near Boston and wrote down all those tunes, day after day.” Regarding the theme of “Sunshine”, Edwards commented, “It was just at the time of the Vietnam War and Nixon. It was looking bad out there. That song meant a lot to a lot of people during that time—especially me. “Sunshine” reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in January 1972.
“Athens County” was recorded under the title “Sweet Maria (Athens County)” by the Montana bluegrass group Mission Mountain Wood Band in 1977 for their first album, In Without Knocking. The song “Shanty” is used as the “Friday Song” on various “classic rock” FM radio stations; played at various times every Friday, it represents the unofficial start of the weekend. The song “Sunshine” was used in a Jeep commercial, and was also featured on the soundtrack for the film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.
1. “Everybody Knows Her” (J. Edwards) – 1:53
2. “Cold Snow” (J. Edwards) – 2:19
3. “Athens County” (J. Dolce, J. Edwards) – 2:45
4. “Dusty Morning” (J. Edwards) – 2:18
5. “Emma” (B. Brannon, J. Edwards) – 3:39
6. “Shanty” (J. Edwards) – 2:32
7. “Sunshine” (J. Edwards) – 2:16
8. “The King” (J. Edwards) – 2:50
9. “Don’t Cry Blue” (M. McKinney) – 2:42
10. “Jesse” (J. Edwards) – 3:02
11. “Sometimes” (M. McKinney) – 2:47
12. “Train Of Glory” (J. Edwards) – 3:29
- Record Company – Atlantic Recording Corporation
- Distributed By – ATCO Records
- Produced For – North Country Productions Ltd.
- Copyright (c) – Atlantic Recording Corporation
- Pressed By – Philips Recording Company, Inc.
- Published By – Castle Hill Publishing Ltd.
- Recorded At – Intermedia Sound, Boston
- Mastered At – Atlantic Studios
- Jonathan Edwards – vocal, guitar, harp, bass
- Stuart Schulman – bass, violin
- Jef Labes – keyboard
- Richard Adelman – drums
- Eric Lilljequist – guitar
- Bill Keith – banjo
- Bob Runstein – engineer
- Mike Leary – engineer
- Nancy Lopes – photography
- Jimm Roberts – album design
Released: November, 1971
Recorded at: Intermedia Sound Inc. Boston, Massachusetts
Genre: Rock, Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk Rock, Acoustic
Label – Atco Records