Bruce Edwards And The Groovediggers Dig Some Real Grooves
by James Coulter
When listening to the radio, have you ever heard a song that you remembered loving the first time you heard it but haven’t heardfor the longest time? If you enjoy revisiting classic gems buried deep within the recesses of your nostalgia, then you’ll enjoy The Groovediggers.
While most bands play the recent popular hits, Bruce Edwards and his band delve deep into the classic tunes that were once popular between the late-50s to mid-80s. Their song roster consists of underrated gems many people forgot that they lovedbut instantly remember why they loved them upon hearing them again.
“When you hear a song on the radio, you love that song, but you don’t hear it every day, that is the music that the Groovediggerstry to do,” Edwards said. “We want you to have that moment when we are performing that you go, ‘I love this song, and I don’t hear bands play it, but it is a part of my life, and it takes me back.’ That is in a nutshell what the Groovediggers are about.”
Their music proves to be a genuine grab bag of hits from the 50s to 80s. From county to disco, any song that any Baby Boomer or Gen Xer would have remembered playing on the radio is played by them. No matter your musical tastes, their performance is sure to offer something you either like or once liked.
“So no matter who you are, in that hour’s worth of music, you will hear at least a few songs that are right in your sweet spot,” Edwards said. “[That’s] what makes the Groovediggers very special. We really try to make everything that we do accessible for as many people as possible. We don’t try to be everything for everybody, but we do try to be the best with what we do and reach as many people as we can through that.”
Such an enigmatic song roster makes The Groovediggers a perfect fit for the upcoming Central Florida Cannabis Fest, to be hosted in Plant City on Sat. Apr. 24 and Sun. Apr. 25. The Groovediggers will be one of ten local bands playing that weekend during the free outdoor music festival.
Edwards’ own eclectic musical tastes stem back to his childhood. He started playing music at the ripe age of 12. Before then, he was introduced to a diverse array of musical selections, from 50s doo-wop to 60s British Invasion hits.
Young Edwards lived next door to an owner of a jukebox warehouse. When the neighbor passed away, his wife gifted the young boy, who was around ten years old, with nearly a thousand 45-inch records, all with classic songs dating as far back as the early 50s.
Though his new record collection, Edwards developed a love for such illustrious bands and musicians, including Buddy Holly, Frankie Lane, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys. He combined his appreciation for the old with his love for the then-new, including Queen, Styx, and Pink Floyd.
Edwards was also inspired by the music in his own church. He grew up during the early years of Contemporary Christian Rock, so he fell in love with many of the big names within that movement such as Larry Norman, Terry Taylor, and the Resurrection Band.
All musical influences, both old and new, mainstream and counter-culture, secular and religious, significantly affected his musical tastes. With such an enigmatic musical upbringing, it’s no wonder that his musical performances tend to be a real mixed bag.
Edwards currently serves as the pastor of Resurrection House Mission, an ELCA Lutheran Congregation in Dade City. His side gig is performing in his band, The Groovediggers. The band initially started several years ago as The Tonebenders. The name was later changed to its current iteration after two of their members retired, but the others wanted to remain.
“A couple of us decided that we were old, but not quite that old,” Edwards said. “We weren’t ready to throw in the towel and we decided to keep on going. Got some new guys and have been blessed with some pretty good success these couple of years.”
They found a new bass player and a new keyboard player (the latter replacing Tater Hayes from Boss Hog Radio, who dropped out of the band to continue his position at the station) and renamed themselves The Groovediggers.
While many current bands play modern hits, or stick to a single genre like Top 40 or country, The Groovediggers refuse to compartmentalize themselves. In fact, they owe their success to mixing and matching their songs.
“In the old days, when we got started in music, live music was very compartmentalized,” Edwards explained. “Then the internet happened a few years back, and suddenly people were not stuck with whatever music they bought on records or tapes.”
With this new development, very few people felt the desire to sit in one place for three to four hours and listen to the same music. And while many bars survived with 100 to 200 people showing up one weekend and listening to their band, those numbers quickly started to dwindle.
To keep up with new tastes and trends, Edwards and his band decided to mix and match music and genres, exposing listeners to music they had never heard before, or may have heard before but had long forgotten about, he said.
Edwards and his bandmates come from all over Central Florida, and their band plays everywhere from Winter Haven, Crystal River, and Palm Harbor. They especially love playing their gig at The Caribbean Bay in Winter Haven.
They are excited to play at the upcoming Central Florida Cannabis Fest. They are incredibly honored to play alongside the nine other bands performing that weekend.
“I have done many festivals, and I have to tell you, the quality of the bands across the board, all of the bands there, us included, these are all headliner quality bands,” Edwards said. “So we are hoping that people will hop at the opportunity to have a really good time, to get out, to breathe a little, to stretch their legs, people have been locked out for a while, and felt cooped up and have not been able to attend events like this very much. So we are hoping that people will come out and have a good time.”
Central Florida Cannabis Fest will be hosted on Apr. 24 and 25 at the Plant City Farm & Flea Market, located at 906 West Sam Allen Rd in Plant City. Admission is free with $2 parking. For more information, visit their website at: https://centralflcannabisfest.com/