Folk singer, songwriter influenced Kingston Trio

Travis Edmonson, a folk music singer and songwriter of the 1950s and ‘60s who was considered a pioneer by artists such as the Kingston Trio, died May 9 in Mesa, Ariz. He was 76.

Edmonson, who had a stroke in 1982, had been suffering numerous health problems.

Bob Shane, founding member of the Kingston Trio, was in college when he first saw Edmonson perform in San Francisco. Edmonson became his idol after that.

“He was probably the finest solo entertainer I’d ever seen,” Shane told The Associated Press from his Phoenix home. “He had a command of the stage that was just unbelievable.”

Shane said he and fellow member, Nick Reynolds, were inspired watching Edmonson, who at the time was a member of the Gateway Singers.

Born in Long Beach, California, Edmonson spent his childhood in the border town of Nogales, Arizona. His family’s proximity to Mexico helped to shape his passion for Latin music.

Some of Edmonson’s signature songs included “I’m a Drifter” and “Malaguena Salerosa.”

In the 1970s, Edmonson moved back to Tucson where he continued to perform and advise younger musicians such as Linda Ronstadt.

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