I feel like a kid who has skipped school, and finally showed up. I should have a T-shirt made that says "Sorry My Newsletter Is So Late" (It's been over 2 yrs.) It would probably take less time to make one than to explain to everyone why I don't. Oh well, here I am again drinking coffee and staring at the computer screen trying to remember what I have been doing. I am alive and well, and starting my 26th year as a full-time, independent musician. Happier than usual, actually. These aren't bad times. A lot of people still like music.
Unlike pop stars, I do not have to re-invent myself every few years, so I am still basically doing the same thing- traveling, staying home, playing & writing music, trying not to drown in the sea of information. My music is still pure acoustic, like always. Travel is still hard and constant, but cell phones and e-mail are making it easier. Radio is more centralized than ever, and more and more independent stores are going out of business, and there is hardly a store left in this area that even sells my CD's. It's hard to imagine what the marketplace of acoustic music will be like in 10 or 20 more years. Yikes! Luckily I know I will still be playing a guitar and an autoharp then. Who knows what computers or a lot of other tools people use will look like then. I hope all of you are doing well, and not becoming obsolete.
Go To Next Year's Newsletter (2001-2002 Edition)
Go To Previous Newsletter (1998 Edition)
Read the 1999 Mini-Newsletter that was E-mailed Dec 1999
Go to Page 2 of this Newsletter
* Fruit on the Vine, my last CD, made it to #22 last year on the folk radio DJ charts, which is awesome, considering that Woodpecker has virtually no radio promotion budget, as compared to some of the rather large record labels that are now competing in the acoustic music radio market. Thanks for the spins, you radio people. It helps keep me alive.
* [PICTURED- When in Rome, Roam around. Italy makes you feel artistic. Know why the Roman Coliseum (left) went out of business? The lions ate up all the prophets. (The joke only works when spoken.) I had a hard time telling that to my Italian guide- puns are hard to translate. What an impressive place. It's almost incomprehensively immense, obviously built during a period of low gravity. ]
I went to Italy in May 2000 for an intensive tour, sponsored by Fishman Transducers and Larrivee Guitars. I performed at a guitar festival, on TV, and a lot of music stores around the county to show people some of the tools I use on stage. The food was awesome, and it was a treat to get tour-managed by Willy Davoli of Davoli Distributors. Italy is lovely, interesting, and about 30 degrees warmer than Maine was in May. The food at the turnpike rest areas was better than most restaurant food around here. I learned some fancy new driving tricks.
* The Third Hand Capo Company is now being run by Woodpecker Records http://www.partialcapo.com
I helped found it, and have been responsible in the last 20 years for most of what is known about the partial capo. If you play guitar or want to, you should try one.
* It's another instance of piddling in the ocean for me to announce the results of a bunch of you folks contacting the "We Have Every CD" web sites, trying to find Harvey Reid CD's. They either did not respond, did not care, or admitted that they only carry what they can get from certain places. None of them offered to carry my stuff. Oh well, choose your battles.
To Order One...
More Info about the CD & Some Reviews
I have finally finished a new CD that I worked on for almost 6 months. I had been planning for several years to do a new solo guitar recording, but that is much easier said than done. It takes a huge amount of time to create and record serious instrumental music, and the large blocks of time needed for real creativity become almost impossible to find, even for a full-time musician. So I set aside the whole winter and stopped touring to build a new studio, learn to use the new high tech gear I bought, and to write and arrange a whole album of solo guitar music. Solo Guitar Sketchbook, which I released in 1989, has been my best-seller, and has been consistently popular with guitar fans, and I wanted to make a "sequel." (Much of that CD was re-recordings of things from my first LP, Nothin' But Guitar, so the task of creating the music for this new CD was larger than any previous project.)
In anticipation of the arrival of the DVD-Audio era, I decided to buy state-of-the-art 24-bit recording gear, in hopes of releasing a CD and also a higher-resolution DVD. The DAT technology I have been using is now 11 years old, and I was anxious to try the next generation of quality. At one point, I had even intended to record in a variety of formats to see who could tell the difference, but once I heard the quality of the 24-bit sound, I lost interest in other kinds of recording. Though it now appears that DVD Audio may not hit the consumer market as hoped this year, I am absolutely thrilled with the sound quality of this finished product.
My original experiments with converting the 24-bit audio to make the CD had been disappointing, but once I completed the final CD mastering I found that it was possible to retain most of the sound quality in the final 16-bit CD, and I no longer feel disappointed that people will not be able to hear the 24-bit version. I think you will find, as I do, that this CD is extraordinary sounding, (I also used no compression or effects other than a modest reverb) and I encourage you to compare it with my previous CD's or to any other CD you have. I think you will find the clarity, presence, and tone to be nothing short of stunning.
On Guitar Voyages, I chose to focus more on finding my own style of guitar, and even had to slap my hands to stop them from cranking out another tune in the Merle Travis style, for example. Styles of music may be something we can cling to for familiarity in a world gone crazy, and the labels like bluegrass, jazz, baroque and the others give us bins to put the music in, but they do not encourage experimentation and creativity. Simply playing in or imitating existing styles is something I am losing interest in, and something I have done successfully already. This project is an attempt to explore my own guitar sound in more depth.
I think you will enjoy this new music; and I hope you agree that it is time for the American guitar to continue moving forward and evolving. I also made a conscious decision not to simply play as fast as I can on most of the cuts, in the guitarist-as-gunfighter mentality which pervades the world of guitar magazines and guitar hero-worship. I wanted to strike a balance between making this CD pleasant to listen to for the average listener, and making it so that it would impress the guitar-only audience. (Believe me, there is still plenty of technically difficult guitar playing here, I just disguised a lot of it as nice music...)
My goal, in addition to participating in raising the sound-quality standard of guitar recordings, was to push my creativity on this project, and to come up with a sizable amount of new, distinctive, satisfying, complete-sounding music that 1) suits the steel-string guitar, 2) is rhythmically, melodically and hamonically interesting, 3) is consistent with what I have done before, and not merely an experiment or a whim. I don't think you will mistake this for someone else's work or think that I am one of those artists whose best work was done long ago. I of course also hope you like it.
In 1999 I started a new non-profit arts organization here in
my town, called the Seacoast
Guitar Society, to make life better for guitars and guitarists
in my community. I also wanted a way to be involved more here
at home, since it seems like all I do is leave to go touring.
Most of what the SGS has done is up on the web site at http://www.seacoastguitar.org,
so take a look. In addition to promoting some wonderful concerts
that have included Dick Gaughan, Dan Crary, Catfish Keith,
Pat Donohue, Al Petteway, Preston Reed, Bennett Hammond &
Buddy Mondlock, we have classified ads, a guitarist directory,
a Guitar Talk question and answer section, concert and album reviews,
and lots more. It has been great fun, and I have met a lot of
good people, and seen old friends as a result, and I can't wait
to keep doing it.
I encourage all of you to try to do something in your community to make ithe world better.
If you'd like to make a tax-deductible contribution to help the SGS, please contact us through the web site, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at
PO Box 790 York ME 03909 (207-363-1886 x3)
Go to Page 2 of this Newsletter
This web site concerns the music and life of acoustic musician & music educator Harvey Reid.
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