John Byron Edwards left school and home while still in his mid-teens, with a dream of going to sea.
By 1962, at seventeen, he had hitch-hiked and ridden freight trains over large parts of Canada and the U.S. Is was at this time, that his other great passion surfaced. Music.
Working on shrimp boats along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and any manner of other job, he rambled here and there, until he finally succeeded, at eighteen, in obtaining a berth on a big ship, ' foreign going', bound for Australia. It was there, Down Under, that he first heard Australian, English, Irish and Scottish ballads, which he began adding to his repertoire of American country and folk songs.
At twenty, on a visit home, to Calgary, Alberta, he worked that winter in the oil fields of Northen Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories and then shipped out in the spring, on a Norwegian ship, bound for Europe. This pattern of seafaring, oilfields, logging trucks, and over the road trucking, has continued to the present day, with voyaging yachts of his own and others becoming a part of his life.
The first boat, a traditional wooden topsail cutter (30') was bought in England with two other merchant seaman, but only Edwards ended up sailing it, from Brixham, in the West of England, to France, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, the Canary Islands and across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and Florida.
More oilfields and logging followed, and then a second boat, a 57' steel ketch built in Hamburg in 1951, with two new mates, partner Rick Wood and friend Martin Cooney. They set sail from Nantucket, MA in September of 1975, and after many difficulties enroute to Bermuda, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and the Falkland Islands, succeeded in rounding Cape Horn and sailing into the South Pacific, the Marquesas, the Society Islands (Tahiti, Moorea, Huahini and Bora Bora) thence to Hawaii and arriving in San Francisco in July of 1978.
In July, 1988, he became the truck driver for the Everly Brothers on yearly nationwide tours of the US and Canada. This led to opening shows for them as well as the Righteous Brothers. In 1996, he became the Road Manager for the Everly Brothers, touring the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia, until the Brothers retired in the fall of 2001.
Edwards went back to sea on merchant ships, American this time, in April of 2007, then to Maritime College where he obtained his Third Mate's license the following year.
He is currently the second mate on a container ship, trading from the U.S. East Coast, to the Azores and Ascension Island.
John, age 22, working on a Swedish
merchant ship, in the South China Sea