This is one dude who knows how to party. The eleventh annual J Edwards Birthday Bash is set for July 31 at the Jamil Temple in Columbia, S.C. from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.
Singer/songwriter J Edwards has been throwing his own birthday party since the year 2000. One Saturday night, which happened to be his birthday, he had a gig booked at a joint called Sandra’s Corner Pocket.
“I invited some blues buddies to come and jam with me,” he remembers. “I couldn’t pay them, but I figured I could handle the bar tab. It was a lot of fun, and the tips covered the tab, so it was a great birthday.”
He did it again and by the third year out, he had so many bands wanting to play he had to make a schedule.
“I’ve had up to 15 bands, but cut back now because I’m actually paying them!” he told me in between finishing work on his new CD, finalizing band schedules, selling tickets and organizing raffles for the nonprofits involved and who knows what else.
The entertainment ranges from full on electric blues to funked up R&B, rockabilly, modern rock and smooth acoustic country.
This year’s line-up covers a lot of ground. Here are some of the players.
Rob Crosby (singer-songwriter/acoustic country)
This Sumpter, S.C. boy moved hisself to Nashville in the late eighties and has scored hits as both songwriter and artist. He has writing credits on “Concrete Angel” performed by Martina McBride, “She’s More” by Andy Griggs and “Holdin’ a Good Hand” by Lee Greenwood. His own top ten hits include “She’s a Natural,” “Love Will Bring Her Around” and “Burnin’ For You.”
Talking about Crosby, Edwards says, “Rob is just smooth .. that’s all I can say … the boy just drips with honey. His songwriting abilities weave a message that’s pretty phenomenal.” Showtime 5:45 p.m.
Rickey Godfrey (soul-blues guitarist/vocals)
Whether you’re talking vocals or instrumental, Nashville’s Rickey Godfrey is recognized not just in Music City and his home state of South Carolina, but all over the world. He’s toured and played with Sam Moore, Rufus Thomas, the Box Tops, Johnny Jones and Billy Preston. J Edwards said, “Rickey’s superb bluesmanship captures attention wherever he goes. He’s got such a cool groove. Folks are going to be blown away.” Godfrey, who is currently working on his own blues album for release later this year, also played on Lulu’s House, J Edwards CD on the Serenity Hill label, set for release at the Birthday Bash. I’ve heard a few of the tracks and can’t wait to hear the rest. Showtime 3:15 p.m.
Tommy Tutone (80s pop, rockabilly)
Best known for his hit “867-5309/Jenny” from his gold album Tutone 2, Tommy is working on a new CD called Soul Twang, bringing a new synthesis of rockabilly, soul and country to the table. Gonna be fun. Showtime 6:30 p.m.
Soul Mites (funk-rock)
This quartet has been together since college, and on the S.C. music scene for some 13 years. Lead singer Tim Davis’ raspy voice adds to their unique sound. Edwards said, “These guys are pure funk rock… their grooves are unbelievable.” Showtime 7:30 p.m.
Cravin’ Melon (Southern rock, folk rock, rockabilly)
This is one of those bands you just gotta see live. Their fans, who range from the fanatical Front Row Club to newbie melonheads are practically part of the show. The band mixes southern charm with tasty guitar licks, vocals and rhythm section to serve up a feast of musical morsels. Get yourself some. Showtime 9:45 p.m.
Midway Blue (Southern rock)
Out of Florence, S.C., these guys recently played the Charlotte Motor Speedway and won the semi finals round of the SPEED channel’s talent show, “Fast Track to Fame.” J Edwards is really enthusiastic about this group. “Midway Blue have a really cool take on Southern country rock … kind of a Beatles’ flair and it’s straight into Craig Morgan country sound with a little Lynyrd Skynyrd over the top.” Showtime 5:45 p.m.
Latin influences, funky phrasing and straight up rock are words that founders Gabriel Lopez and Charles Funk use to describe their unique musical sound. You’ll have to hear it for yourself. (If you’re already a J Edwards fan, you know Funk as his scorching guitarist.) Showtime 2 p.m.
General admission tickets for the Birthday Bash are $15 advance/$20 at the door. VIP tables for four cost $200. A portion of your ticket price will go to one of half a dozen charities. There will also be raffles and silent auctions going on all day.
For more information on the charities, schedules or tickets, visit www.jedwardsband.com or “J Edwards 11th Annual Birthday Bash” page on Facebook or call 803-315-1901. J Edwards Band showtime 8:45 p.m.