J Edwards – Nashville’s Best Kept Secret by Lindsey Sipe
“Sometimes a long shot is your best bet, ‘cause there’s a hunger inside you only find in folks who ain’t made it yet.” J Edwards, I Aint Broken
Hunger can go a long way, especially when it comes to the life of a musician. Take J Edwards for instance. In an industry that all too often gives into formulas and politics, J Edwards says he just wants to “write damn good music that’s heartfelt. . . that’s all it should be about.” That is why he is one of Nashville’s most underrated and best kept secrets. Ask anybody walking the streets of Lower Broad on a Sunday morning. Edwards’ raspy voice and raw, soulful original lyrics pull locals and visitors alike into Bootleggers, all in search of the unique and enduring spirit that made Nashville the “It City” long before the bachelorettes did.
This is all because if he ain’t lived it, he ain’t writing it – and he definitely ain’t singing it. Sporting a salt and pepper beard, shaggy hair, and a plaid shirt, he jokes that at times, people confuse him for Chris Stapleton’s brother. And while his vocals may run alongside one of his obvious influences, the great Bob Seger, Edwards stands in his own box, or lack thereof.
Maybe that’s why the industry doesn’t exactly know what to do with the Arkansas native. It wouldn’t be the first time. Look at Cash, Willie, and Waylon. In Edward’s impressive catalogue, you won’t find commercial sell outs about trucks, beer and girls, but you will find grit and realism. You will find a little bit of country, a little bit of rock, and some blues thrown in for good measure. You will find, especially in the new album, Cold, due out September 21, stories about the workin’ man, the heartbroken man, and the defiant man who’s simply not ready to give up yet.
“This ain’t my first time making dimes and spending dollars. Well a little dirt never hurt this ole’ blue collar. I brush off the dust when things get tough. It’s how the tough keep on going. I’m tired and broke but I ain’t broken. “
Powerful words dictate Edwards’ new single and lead off track, “I Ain’t Broken”, about the hunger and resilience of the human spirit. Lines like “I hug these curves near Gatlinburg like I know every inch of her,” from “Another Cold Shoulder,” compare the loneliness of the highway with the heartache of leaving someone you love. Edwards took to co-writing with Rob Snyder (The Best of Me, Luke Combs) for another intense ballad full of questioning and regret, “Staying Here”.
“It’s all fun til we become the very thing we didn’t want. We had it all. Hometown kings and queens. Then it’s all gone. Life moves on. We can’t believe we’re all alone just holding on to these small town dreams. The only thing that hurts worse than leaving is staying here.”
Then there’s the adventurous and even redemptive story embedded in the piano driven, upbeat melody of “Young Again”, where soulful songstress Cricket Davis shines on the harmonies alongside her father.
Edwards’ God given knack for painting pictures, expressing pure emotion through his voice, and knowing just where to place that perfect guitar lick would make The Outlaws proud. This was their music. This is our music. This is the music that will last for years and decades to come, because J Edward’s music is for anybody that has truly faced challenges and triumphs and everything in between. Here’s to real music and real life.
Cold is now available on all major forms of streaming media including Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and Spotify. For the latest on J Edwards music sign-up for his email newsletter.