16 Horsepower

A Updated


Artist Name
16 Horsepower

musician David Eugene Edwards

David Eugene Edwards was born in 1966 in Waverly, medical Ohio, the second of three children born to a mechanic father and a mother who worked as a preschool teacher. He grew up in an environment of live bluegrass music and the sounds of eastern Kentucky next to a hillbilly farm, yet his parents gave him an appetite for swing, jazz, punk, and country. At the age of 15, he bought his first guitar and formed his first band with some local friends.

David's early years were formative when it came to his musical tastes. Growing up in Appalachia exposed him to traditional music like bluegrass and traditional country as well as the more traditional sounds of jazz, swing, and punk. He fell in love with how diverse musical styles could come together with a unique fusion of traditional and modern sounds that he identified with his own experience and felt reflected in his writing and performances. His appreciation for bluegrass, swing, punk, and beyond helped form his own musical approach which blended powerful songwriting with compelling instrumentals.

It wasn't until the mid-90s that Edwards found that unique fusion that he was searching for. He teamed up with Jeffrey-Paul Norlander, Pascal Humbert and Steve Taylor who together formed 16 horsepower, a unique folk music duo. The sound-world they created was a mix of glorious vocal drama, unusual atmospherics and old-time instrumentation. Recorded debut album, Sackcloth’n’ Ashes, released on the A&M Records label, launched the career of 16 horsepower a few months later in 1996, during the breakthrough of alternative rock among commercial radio listeners. The album and its extraordinary single, “Low Estate”, revealed Edwards’ powerful and raw vocals, embracing themes that he still relates strongly to today.

From then on, 16 horsepower continued to reach new heights in a post-alt-rock golden age. Their profile raised considerably with further albums in the late 90s and early 2000s, gaining critical and commercial acclaim. Their sound dared to push the boundaries of genres into previously unexplored new musical worlds. The alternative country, punk-folk, and Goth Americana genres can be observed all over their works. By the time of the 2003 album Folklore, Edwards had made a name for himself with his eerie sound architecture and creative songwriting.

The success of 16 horsepower’s discography did not comeonly sporadically though. Edwards’ deep roots in southern Appalachian folk scenes gave him major recognitions in 1997 and 2002 when he was invited to perform at the annual Newport Folk Festival. In 2002, Edwards also received song of the year awards in the Americana Music Association as a result of the single “Christian Ghost” from their Folklore album. Similarly, the outstanding performance of 16 horsepower and other folk artists at the Langenthal festival in Switzerland in 2003 has marked an inescapable legacy of Edwards in the music world.

David Eugene Edwards’ powerful combination of sounds has won him not only recent awards and recognition but also earned him a devoted fan-base around the world. His achievements have continued to push boundaries of sound-worlds and designs of folk narratives. In 2009, the all-encompassing career of 16 horsepower fully celebrated when David Edwards was rewarded with the Appellation Prize from the Swiss Arts council for his outstanding achievements in music.

After disbanding 16 Horsepower in May 2005, Teamginger remixers employed Edwards' vocals for their 2006 debut album. Throughout his career, notably the period between 2005 and 2012, Edwards was featured in other musical projects including Woven Hand, European tours as a solo musician, and even a Voice of God Records debut. Since recently, David Eugene Edwards has resumed his solo career having released his acclaimed Cradle EP in 2018, he also dropped his fourth full-length ‘Better Days’ earlier this year.

David Eugene Edwards career has proven to be constantly evolving to fit with the current trends and yet maintain its distinct identity at the same time. After more than two decades of creative output, Edwards has established what is now considered one of the most successful and influential careers in independent music. His artistry and musicality have shaped genres and pushed folk music to new levels, leaving a permanent impact and inspiring generations of musicians.