Bass player and guitarist Kenny Edwards, who worked extensively with Linda Ronstadt and played on a number of country hits in the 1980s and ‘90s, died Wednesday in California at age 64.
Kenny had a rare blood disorder and had been in chemotherapy for prostate cancer, according to the Los Angeles Times, yet he continued to tour with singer-songwriter Karla Bonoff. He collapsed in Denver earlier this month and, after reaching out to fans via his website, received funding to be airlifted back to a hospital in Santa Barbara, where he passed away.
“He was always a beacon to me,” Linda told the Times. “He introduced me to so much stuff, and his opinion always counted a lot to me.”
Kenny was a member of the Stone Poneys, the band that brought Linda her first pop hit with “Different Drum” in 1967. Even after the group broke up, he remained part of the core community of Southern California musicians who played a role in the singer-songwriter movement of the 1970s. He contributed to Linda’s country hits — “When Will I Be Loved,” “Love Is A Rose,” “Blue Bayou,” “Crazy” and “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)” — and his name appeared in the credits on albums by Warren Zevon, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks and Juice Newton, among others. Kenny was part of the studio bands that created J.D. Souther’s 1979 hit “You’re Only Lonely” and Andrew Gold’s 1977 release “Lonely Boy.” He also produced Karla Bonoff’s infectious 1982 release “Personally.”
His relationship with Linda also landed Kenny a prominent role in the development of the landmark Trio album with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. But it was hardly his only contribution to country music. He played on David Lee Murphy’s classic “Dust On The Bottle,” Kathy Mattea’s “Walking Away A Winner,” Wynonna’s “Tell Me Why” and the Charlie Daniels Band’s “Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye.”
Despite his proficiency, Kenny never released an album of his own until 2002. He’ll be honored Sunday with a memorial concert at Zoey’s Café in Ventura, Calif.