By Kelsi Williamson, Student Reporter
Folk singer and songwriter Jonathan Edwards performed in front of an intimate crowd at Abilene’s Paramount Theatre on Saturday night as part of the “Live at the Paramount” Abilene Arts Series.
“For a solid 95 minutes, he [Edwards] was a powerhouse of energy,” said Betty Hukill, Paramount Theatre executive director.
Edwards, perhaps best known for his 1971 gold recordwinning single Sunshine, performed barefooted and in blue jeans.
“That immediately put him in contact with the crowd and at ease,” said Rick Waldraff, Paramount board member. “Here is a guy that’s been doing this for 37 years and still loves what he’s doing.”
Two hundred and ten people gave Edwards’ performance a standing ovation; Edwards responded with an encore sung in a capella.
“It was just beautiful,” Hukill said.
“Live at the Paramount” is in its fourth season. The theatre started it in order to provide the Abilene community with an alternative musical entertainment.
“It certainly brings talented artists that normally wouldn’t come to Abilene,” Waldraff said.
Edwards’ performance was the first of three such artists scheduled for the “Live at the Paramount” 2008-09 season. The Grammy-winning Texas swing band, Asleep at the Wheel, will appear at the Paramount on Jan. 24, 2009.
Texas swing is swing music made uniquely Texan, Hukill said. It is dance music that the Paramount hopes will produce a large turnout.
“Asleep at the Wheel has really perfected that style,” Hukill said.
The final act in the series will be country singersongwriter Suzy Bogguss on March 7, 2009.
“The board of directors realized there was nothing like this in Abilene and they wanted to fill that niche,” Hukill said.
Hukill also said the Paramount’s intimate setting makes it easy for the audience to feel close to whoever is performing on stage, an aspect Edwards incorporated as he posed for pictures and signed autographs after the show.
Tickets for individual performances range from $10 to $25, and tickets for the remaining two shows can be purchased anywhere from $14 to $40. More information about tickets and performers can be found by calling the Paramount Theatre at 676-9620, or by visiting its Web site, www.paramount-abilene.org.