Emens performance proves successful

Grade: A

People from all around, even as far as Nashville, Tenn., came to hear Karla Bonoff, the main event for "Family Weekend."

Props were scarce on the stage of Emens Auditorium, and they certainly were not needed. The stage consisted of the basics, a few guitars, microphones and a piano.

Opening act Kenny Edwards took the stage shortly after 9 p.m., dressed in jeans and a light gray shirt.

"You guys might want to scrunch up a little," he told the half-filled auditorium before completing a set of songs he wrote.

Edwards had a soothing and enjoyable voice, almost reminiscent of a father's voice singing a bedtime tune to a small child.

"Oh, baby, it's a long way down. I always promised I would stand my ground," he sang while strumming his guitar with relaxed precision.

After the first number, he addressed the crowd with a smiling face.

"It's my first time in Muncie," he said, "unless I came in the '70s and just forgot."

Edwards sang a few more slow ballads and then did a number he described as "a song about obsessive-compulsive love."

This song was particularly interesting because it was a faster tune, and Edwards played a small banjo-like instrument.

Lyrics seemed to fit into everyday life with words such as "I hear the sound of the pouring rain, but I don't want to end this dream."

Edwards said that many of his songs are based on personal life experiences.

Though he has toured and performed with such artists as Linda Ronstadt in the 1970s, Edwards said that he is now working on his first solo CD.

"I was never that comfortable with my song writing," he said when asked why he waited so long to put together solo work.

After a half-hour set, there was a brief intermission before Bonoff took the stage, accompanied by Edwards.

At times, she sounded very much like Jewel or Tori Amos, and she even had a voice suitable for country music.

She told the audience that many of her songs were influenced by the "jerks" she dated. One such song had the lyrics "I never really was a bad girl, but you got me in trouble anyway."

Most of the songs were beautifully written and contain grains of truth that many people face, truths about love, loss and relationships. Bonoff even sang a touching song that she dedicated to those who lost their lives on Sept. 11.

One of her last numbers was a song she wrote that was later recorded by country artist Wynonna Judd titled "Tell Me Why." She did what she said was one of her favorite folk songs, "Water is Wide," for an encore.

Bonoff and Edwards stayed at least 30 minutes after the show and signed autographs for smiling fans as Bonoff talked about her experiences with past writer's block.

"It was really hard on my career," she said. "It was difficult, but something I had to go through."

Bonoff said that the best way to get through a period like that is to write every day, even if it's a line or two.

Edwards said after the show that it's important for future song writers to know the format and the techniques.

"Learn the rules before breaking them," he said.

One surprise, though it was anticipated, was the smaller crowd that attended this show.

But that didn't bother Bonoff or Edwards.

"We knew this was a big hall," Bonoff said.

Edwards agreed, and said that they usually play for smaller audiences in smaller clubs.

Those who were at Emens Friday night got to see a well performed show by two very talented musicians, and they now have the autographs to prove it.


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