Jonathon Edwards at the Winchester (2006)

Winchester in Lakewood, Ohio

26 May 2006

A sparse but receptive crowd, mostly Forty and Fifty Somethings with a few children thrown in, enjoyed a good night of 70’s folk rock at the Winchester in Lakewood last Friday at the Jonathon Edwards show.

Edwards walked confidently on stage clean cut and barefoot, with guitar and harmonica, and opened up with “It’s the Natural Thing.” For the next ninety minutes or so he entertained the audience with mostly songs from his self-titled album of over 30 years ago; a few other 70′s originals; a cover or two; and one new song. His voice sounded good, as he can still hit most of the high notes, and he looked good himself, slimmed and tanned and much younger looking than his sixty years.

Right from the start he had a good rapport with the audience, more than a few who shared Athens, Ohio, roots with Edwards. The crowd responded to the Edwards’ standards “Down in Athens County,” “Train of Glory,” “Cry Cry Blue,” and “Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy.”

He also threw in some covers, including a great version of George Jones’ “The Choices I Have Made.” He also threw in Bob Dylan’s “I Know My Baby Will” and the standard “”You are my Sunshine.”

He saved his “hits” for last, making a comparison of our current war in Iraq with the Vietnam conflict in the introduction to “Sunshine,” and closing the show with the audience singing along to “Shanty.”

Local singer/songwriter Randy J. Daniels opened the evening, and was a perfect fit. With catchy original tunes with titles like “Cards on the Table” and “Tiny Little Arms,” and some good covers, especially George Harrison’s “Apple Scruffs.”

There have been a few improvements in the Winchester since I was last there, and the place is making good strides in becoming a quality establishment. Two areas of improvement still need to be addressed, and the place could very easily deal with them. For those of you who have never been there, you walked into a front bar that has a great neighborhood feel to it, then go through a back door into the concert area. However, for the opening act and part of Edwards’ set a group of people sat in the back of the concert hall and talked noisily. Also, the smoking ventilation is poor, poor enough that Edwards paused and complained about it several times early in his show. Both of these could be alleviated by limiting smoking and socializing during the performances to the bar area in front.