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In Tribute to Kenny Edwards

| September 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

Kenny with Wendy Waldman and Karla Bonoff

On August 18th the music community lost one of its dearest friends when Kenny Edwards left this earth way too soon. For those who didn’t know him, he was a founding member of the Stone Poneys with Linda Ronstadt and Bobby Kimmel, a musical legend in the folk-rock movement of the late-’60s and early-‘70s, and an incredibly talented musician, producer, and songwriter. And for those who did know him, well, it’s kind of hard to find the words.

I knew of Kenny through his longtime association with my idol Karla Bonoff—there wasn’t a liner note without his name on it when I was growing up. And later I was a huge fan of Bryndle, the songwriting supergroup that he and Karla were in with Wendy Waldman and Andrew Gold. His role as a sideman always added a dimension of stability, of centeredness, of truth … things that come from inside a person. And oh, his love of music was so contagious!

What was most wonderful to witness over the past few years was Kenny’s stepping into the spotlight, finally seeing himself as a viable solo artist. The last time I saw him was a Folk Alliance in Memphis a couple years ago, and he had the biggest smile on his face as he told me about the fun he was having and the great friends he had made. What transpired in 2009 was Resurrection Road, a beautiful collection of his that is worn, weary and wonderful; a culmination of his life’s work, where it feels like he hit his stride and sailed on into home.

Kenny and I at the Collings Guitar booth at NAMM

I found this video of Kenny performing at SummerSongs West songwriter camp (with Rebecca Troon and Susan Reeves singing harmony), exactly two months before losing his battle against cancer and a blood disorder. It’s a song called “On Your Way To Heaven” from Resurrection Road, with the lyrics: “If you fall on your way to Heaven/ You can reach down, and I’ll give you my hand/And if you fall on your way to Heaven/ I’ll stick around, and we’ll do what we can/ On our way to Heaven.”

Beyond his musicianship, kindness and gentleness, Kenny was known for simply making people better. Just by knowing him. Or playing music with him. Or being a part of his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family of friends. How lucky we were to have known him.

Category: In Case You Haven't Heard

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