Thursday, July 9, 2009
What best becomes a legend? In Kenny Edwards’ case, it seems to be modesty.
Over the course of his undeniably distinguished career, the guitar player, mandolinist, songwriter and producer was a co-founder of the Stone Poneys, along with Bobby Kimmel and a young female vocalist named Linda Ronstadt. He’s been part of the cult band Bryndle, teaming up with Karla Bonhoff, Wendy Waldman and Andrew Gold. And he’s collaborated on songs, records and tours with Warren Zevon, Stevie Nicks and Don Henley, among others.
Based in Santa Barbara for the last 12 years, the soft-spoken musician is making his way to Carmel Valley on July 11 as part of impresario Kiki Wow’s increasingly interesting, eclectic venue for singers and songwriters.
“I knew Kiki a little bit down in L.A. through Kulak’s Woodshed – it was a strange little place with a live webcast,” he says. “So I’m glad to have the opportunity to play here and see her again.”
“I played Monterey Live once – it was a beautiful venue, but they seemed to have a hard time getting people out there… ”
Edwards recalls the early Stone Poneys days fondly.
“Linda and I were both around 18,” he says. “I was working at McCabe’s Guitar Shop and my friend Bobby Kimmel said ‘I know this great girl singer from Tucson, why don’t we see if the three of us can hit it off?’ – we certainly did.
“Linda and I wrote a song called ‘Lo Siento Mi Vida’ together with her dad, who was of Mexican descent and a fluent Spanish speaker, that was included on Hasten Down The Wind.”
Edwards also enjoyed his collaborations with Zevon, who he worked with on Excitable Boy and The Envoy. “We also wrote a song together, ‘Looking for the Next Best Thing,’” he recalls.
Although much of his career has been as a sideman, Edwards is enjoying life as an independent contractor. He released his first solo album in 2002 and is currently putting the finishing touches on a new CD, Resurrection Road.
“It’s a little higher energy than the first, but the same general direction – Americana/California-flavored folk music, with some Mexican influence along the way. Frighteningly eclectic. I’ve been doing this so long I’m like a stone with a lot of multi-colored moss along the way.”
He laughs when he hears his fellow Southern Californians in Poco are playing the Golden State Theatre the same weekend as his gig. “I did a show with them a year ago in Grover Beach, of all places.”
Edwards, who produces records by local musicians from his home studio in Santa Barbara, is unperturbed by the changes in the industry.
“None of the people riding high in the music business adapted very well to the technological changes at the turn of the millennium. My particular position is recession-proof. You can’t get much more modest. I have a guitar and I can go places and play, not seek permission to ply my trade.”
His Carmel Valley gig will be as a solo act.
“I’ve been doing it that way for about five years,” he says. “I spent a lot of time on big stages, playing loud. This is a nuanced way to play my own material.”
KENNY EDWARDS plays 7-9pm Saturday, July 11, at Plaza Linda Courtyard Plaza, 9 Del Fino Place, Carmel Valley. $15. 659-4229.