What would the Grizzly Bear sound like if it could sing? It would sound like it had taken lessons from J Edwards. It's that voice that rocks the streets of downtown Nashville, but it's his original songs that bring the city alive again with the spirit of long gone story-tellers. It's the voice that draws you in and the power in those words that nail you to the chair until the last strum of that old acoustic guitar. Folks have missed their planes back to California and New York while under the spell of those smoke-like songs.
J Edwards has had some kind of instrument in his hand since birth. While other babies were grasping at rattles, he was playing Black Gospel tambourine from under the front pew of the "Holy Roller" church. A little up high and double time. Writing his first official song at 9 years old he quickly found an outlet for his writings with his already husky vocal sound and soon became the voice of the "hollaring" songs sure to turn the worship into a hand clapping, foot stomping good time. It wasn't long before Edwards was the fill in person on whatever instrument was unoccupied during each church service. So many different notes to express so many different of moments.
Being raised Pentecostal brought it's share of ridicule and some lack of connection with his friends at school, so in his teens J Edwards turned to the gut-wrenching sounds of Blues, R&B and the lonely stories told in the 70's and 80's country songs coming out of that beat up clock radio. A little misguided teasing by counterparts and being a little disregarded by female friends due to their lack of understanding and his "different" appearance was the nail through the soul that scratched out onto paper some of the most heart aching lyrics we've ever felt in a song. It could have been that wrasslin' with religion and the knowledge of it that mashed the spiritual and the longing for a specific woman together and brought us songs of a soft healing touch that still couldn't save him.... or maybe it was just an old T.G. Sheppard song. "She said, Do you wanna go to heaven and I said yes, just lead me on...".
But, that voice will shake the rafters. It's kind of like somebody mixed the attributes of Joe Cocker, Bob Seger, Merle Haggard, Rev. Al Green, Bonnie Raitt and all of your favorite singers that poured it out from the heart and came up with something not like any of them, but still had the sound to take you to forgotten places where you were scared and comforted all at the same time. Somebody said "That voice has purpose. It comes out of his mouth with a job to do and does it. It gets it done" Those smoky tendrils of J Edwards' songs are creeping across the room at you right now. It's gonna put a spell on you.
The 2019 album, Cold is now available on all major forms of streaming media including Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and Spotify, as well as the 2023 album Running On Fumes. For the latest on J Edwards music sign-up for his email newsletter.
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