Page 2 of the Online Edition of the 2004-2005 Harvey Reid Newsletter...

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A very large and imposing sign on the glass door to the outside of a building in Utah, informing me that I was heading outdoors. Makes you wonder how it got there, and who got paid how much to write it. I bet a lawyer was in on it.

Billy Connolly Update- Many of you ask me about this- I made contact with the movie star/comedian/autoharpist when he came to my gig in Hollywood. He is (as you’d expect) an interesting & funny guy, and a great folk music fan. We had a very fun evening, and I’m closing in on getting him to finally pay me for my song.



Who would have guessed that something as simple and useful as e-mail would have become a complex battleground of good and evil? We independent musicians were hoping it would become an easy way to notify our fans of when we are performing. After years of licking stamps, we had hoped we could phase out real mail and just pop you guys an e-mail now and then. Ha!

No one could have imagined how bad the spam, spoofing and virus problems would become, and it has now reached the point where I have no confidence that an e-mail I send out will get to anyone, or that they will read it if it does. I get an avalanche of spam every day, and sometimes e-mails I want to read get tossed out, if they are not clearly labeled. People have stolen my e-identity and sent porn spam, so my return address is on “known spammer” lists. Internet providers are filtering out the mailings I send, and I don’t know they are not getting to you. Also, many of you get frustrated at all the spam you get and change your e-mail addresses, so e-mails I send you bounce, and you never know it. With thousands of e-mail addresses, I do not have time to answer e-mail challenges.
Whenever there is a concert near you, I send out both e-mails and postcards. (Don’t give up and I won’t either...) We can flag you in the list as a person who has a reliable e-mail address, which saves me time and postage. And I have never forgotten to bcc, and have never sold or traded your information. I also do not use the standard e-mail programs or a PC, so there is no chance of me getting a virus and having your e-mail address become part of a virus/spam scheme.

 

Way to Go Howard and Roz- Joyce Andersen and I did an interview/concert on the folk radio show Folkscene in Los Angeles with Howard and Roz Larman, who have been doing their show for over 30 years. Kudos to them.

NEWSLETTER ESSAY
 
I would not call it a "craze" yet, but I have the distinct impression that acoustic music is experiencing a resurgence of interest and a respect that I have not seen in 30 years. I keep meeting young people who seem to truly like banjos and old-time string band music, and many who see (correctly I might add) in the roots music of our culture something refreshingly honest and commercially unpolluted. Acoustic guitar and banjo sales are setting records. I see beautiful young people playing acoustic instruments in soft-drink, car, phone company and credit card commercials during the Super Bowl. The "Unplugged" phenomenon played a big role, as did the "O Brother" movie and its offspring. There was an acoustic guitar and autoharp duet in the Oscar ceremonies this year on prime-time TV! My God! What is going on?
I think it has been documented that cultural trends often have approximately 30 year cycles, and I am getting a feeling that public acceptance of the kind of music I have always played is still increasing. I heard a Nickel Creek mandolin instrumental on a commercial radio station recently and could not believe my ears. Ralph Stanley won the Best Male Country Vocal grammy. I just watched James Taylor sing the national anthem with his guitar at the World Series.
I did my first paid gig around 1975, and even then the pendulum that had put Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot and Peter Paul & Mary on the pop charts in the 60’s and 70’s was starting to swing the other way. I could probably write an entertaining memoir about what it was like to be playing an acoustic guitar in a tavern around 1980, when disco was breaking wide open.


Kids at the college gigs I did in the early 80’s did not actually throw things at me, but were openly hostile, and I might as well have been from another planet when it came to relating to them musically. The year I released my first acoustic guitar LP (1982), Madonna also released her first record, to considerably more acclaim. Video games were just getting entrenched, and people in general were not riveted by a young white guy playing Mr. Bojangles or even a Woody Guthrie or Doc Watson song. The "cool" people were getting into Blondie, the Talking Heads and David Bowie, and to bring my slide guitar, mandolin and my autoharp into noisy bars trying to earn my rent money was not a simple matter. Watching myself get steamrollered by disco, glam-rock, hairbands, punk, grunge, reggae, and a seemingly endless succession of popular, loud, electrified music was not "reinforcing" as they would say in psychology.
But all of that is now a distant bad dream, and it is a much better world, where the acoustic guitar is a respected instrument. It is good to be still performing, and to be jamming with much younger musicians who like the same music I do.
I hope I can keep playing the music that moves me; and I know that if there continues to be such a thing as pop culture, and there really is a pendulum, and it really is swinging, I will not be well-positioned for the next swing. I better enjoy this one as much as I can.

 

 

Joyce and I visited MN, ND, SD, KS, CO, UT, OR, NV, KS during our summer touring. We love the Midwest & the West, and saw a lot of sun, blue skies, silos, cornfields and RV’s, and flattened an uncountable number of bugs on the windshield.
Crossed into North Dakota from Canada at the Peace Garden (below right) which was sadly in disrepair and full of weeds. The roads in ND are very flat (above) but lovely in their own way. Had a good burger at the Alien Bar in Bismarck. (below right) This was my 1st trip ever to ND. It was peaceful.
South Dakota is also a feast for the eyes, and (right) is a panorama from the Badlands National Park. The Corn Palace in Mitchell SD (below right that says 2004) at night is a sight to behold. (Yes that’s corn)

Below is a shot I forgot to put in the paper newsletter of me wearing a buffalo skin robe at a museum in ND.

Did a day hike in Yosemite (below), and tried on a tumbleweed hat (above) at the Tumbleweed Festival in Garden City KS. (Hard to wear one in the wind.) Flew home from MN so we stopped in to gawk at the Mall of America (bottom) It is too large to even behold. This panorama taken from level 2 (there are 5) shows about 2% of the space. You could probably fly a small plane around inside. Yes that is a roller coaster you see

Below also is a pic from the streets of Las Vegas where some Christian protesters were embedded among the sinners on the streets-- another photo that did not make it into the paper newsletter.

 

 
   


 

Black States & White States-

Here is the map of my 2004 performances (black states). I count 26 (a record for me I think), and I was in a few more that I did not perform in, plus a trip to Canada. Yes I did a lot of flying and tons of driving, but this is a beautiful country, and I wish I could have visited 'em all. I hope to make it to your state soon.

 
 

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