This is Page 2 of the Online Edition of the 2005-2006 Harvey Reid Newsletter...
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I should get all excited when I play at a nice theater or festival, but sometimes the odd gigs are the most fun. In June I got to play at a motorcycle rally in rural Virginia, and performed in this barn for a wonderful audience. The acoustics and the smell were fabulous. Really. These bikers are good folks; raising money for a library, and do it every year. Bring your bike & enjoy the scenery: www.bluegrassbookbank.org
Not Not only was it a great gig, but I got to drive a perfectly restored red MG Midget down old country roads. Thanks, Brian. Tricky clutch, but fun fun fun.
Best Gig of the Year A small motorcycle rally in Blue Grass, Virginia. This is where I played. I want to go on the rural sheep barn circuit.
| It was a working sheep barn (the sheep were downstairs,
but you could hear and smell them), and the people sat on these hay bales.
ThatÕs my stage you see in the back. Joyce and I will be there in '06 also.
No Smoking, please!!
This review comes from
the Fire" contains fifteen strong tracks of intelligent and
gracious music with a traditional, though timeless, sensibility. Arrangments
for two lend the work something of a sparse Old Time feel, yet their instrumental
version of "I'll Fly Away" is wonderfully full. The pair does
a bluesy edition of Bobby Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe" and their
take on "Jack of Diamonds" is edgy in its mandolin and fiddle
pairing. Part of the repertoire taps the blues of Blind Willie Johnson
and Mississippi John Hurt; both Reid and Andersen write some, one comes
from Norman Blake, "Billy Gray," and one even reach (sic) back
to the 1780s, "Bound for the Promised Land." Reid and Andersen
have created a diverse and varied project by drawing on their considerable
range of talents with each providing strong lead and harmony vocals and
Joyce playing violin and guitar. Harvey, an accomplished multi-instrumentalist,
plays the 6-string, 12-string and slide guitars, an octave mandolin, mandolin,
autoharp, and 6-string banjo - yes 6 string banjo. It is to their credit
that the broad range of material in Kindling the Fire is absolutely coherent
and the project as a whole has a distinct personality. Selecting a favorite
track or two seems almost churlish and unfair given the overall high caliber
of the material, and yet there are three songs in particular which walk
the tightrope over the populist pit of familiar themes and do not deign
to fall in. Indeed, each grows more compelling on further listening, graced
by an infinite respect, honesty and intellect: Richard Goldman's "Good
Years," HarveyÕs "Losers in Love," and T-Bone Burnett's
"Primitives." IÕve listened to "Kindling the Fire"
almost nonstop for two days and feel reluctant to move away from its richness
and depth. ItÕs not bluegrass: itÕs musical, very musical, and highly
Favorite Road Sign- I still canÕt resist whipping out the camera when I see a good one on the side of the road. This was in rural New Hampshire.
Papa Playing Air Guitar...
Yes that is a shovel, and this time me and my "You want how much to do that?" attitude saved myself a chunk of money and got my trousers really dirty by digging my own sewer ditch. I got some of that famous fresh air and exercise, and thoroughly entertained the neighbors.
Matt Shipman helped dig the thing and took this photo. I said "Can you dig it?" He said "I can dig it." So we totally dug it.
|Everyone in the music business is gazing into every crystal ball they can find to try to figure out what the future holds. Now that I have a new mouth to feed in my house, I am looking down the pike further than I normally would, wondering if I will be able to support my boy by playing folk music. What is my business life going to look like in 5, 10 or 20 years? People still ride horses, and some people still make a living selling and fixing them, though they have not been used for mass transportation for 100 years. If you just looked at the number of meals sold as a measure of success, then McDonald's has won the food war, but what does that mean to the serious chefs of the world who cook 50 dinners a night in a small town somewhere? Not much. Maybe declines in Sony's CD sales means as much to me as fast food burger sales mean to a great chef with a small restaurant. It is pretty clear that my business life will end up more like the small restaurant, where a reasonably small number of people who appreciate what I do come to see me and buy my CD's. The number of CD's I sell would be laughable for Britney Spears, but it feeds me and I have a good life and I don't eat dog food. When I look at my peers and heroes, they are also living on the fringes of the music business. What is happening? CD sales are supposedly fading, doomed to give way to internet downloads, while iPods and their kin are spreading like rabbits. Radio stations are red-hot property, with big conglomerates and people with agendas buying them up, so that there is not much mass media left under independent control. Big record labels are still merging; larger and larger chunks of the musical pie are being controlled by fewer and fewer. At the same time, it is easier than ever to record and duplicate music, and virtually everyone you meet at an open mike has a CD for sale. There is less diversity than ever in mass media, but with the internet and broadband access still expanding, there are avenues of information and worldwide communication that were unthinkable even a few years ago. It's a treasure hunt to find all the excellent independent music hiding out there, but donÕt just expect the good music to find you. Internet radio is taking off, blogging is big, and people are communicating with each other. Maybe music will spread around in new ways, and not just through broadcasting pipelines built and controlled by big money. People are sharing music with each other, which helps spread it around. There is no way to know how many CD's people like me are selling. We don't show up on the music biz charts or pie graphs. 1000 times 1000 is a million, Which means that if there are thousands of people (and there are) selling thousands of CDÕs (there are) then there are millions of CDÕs being spread around "under the radar." Probably tens of millions. I sell a lot, and so do a lot of my colleagues who are not on major labels. Even though a lot of young people are watching videos and playing with Play Stations, lots of people are still making and listening to music. Instrument sales are still strong.||
Music is by no means dead as a way of impacting people.
I see reason for concern but not panic. My 9-year old neighbor is learning
guitar. The first CD I ever bought in 1986 still works perfectly. The
LP's and tapes I own are another story. All my LP's together weigh as
much as a truck, and it's astounding that pretty-good sounding digital
reproductions of all the songs on them would fill up a few iPods. In
a few years, all the music I own will fit on a wristwatch-sized object.
Accessing and organizing this music is going to be the challenge. Carrying
around all my LPÕs is unthinkable, and the appeal of having your whole
music collection in your pocket is obvious. Clearly a lot of people
who grow up with iPods will not buy large collections of CD's and LP's,
but I wonder if the percentage of serious listeners or music collectors
is remaining constant. ItÕs a big question whether or not people who
already own a lot of CD's will stop buying them, or dump all their CD's.
I know I wonÕt. It was very hard to get people top let go of vinyl and
adopt CD's, and it will be nearly impossible to get them to switch again,
especially when the CD's are still working fine. Digital books haven't
taken off: books and CD's both still work perfectly. iPods are convenient
and cute, but rather than solve all problems, they present some new
ones. If you buy songs from Apple's iTunes, you can't move them around
easily to other computers, and they will not play on a Sony mp3 player.
ItÕs hard to lose all your CDÕs at once, or drop all your LP's at once
into a puddle. A friend who is visiting can look through your CD collection
and pick out a CD to play. Much harder if all your music is on a hard
drive. Hard drives crash. Art work and liner notes have a lot of value
when you are a serious music listener-- they are a problem with iPods.
Hard to find out who played the fiddle solo when you download the song.
Packaging is important in American retailing, and it seems inevitable
that shiny packaging will re-emerge in music retailing. Major labels
are downsizing, and are spending less to make albums, so there is less
difference sonically between indie records like mine and big-time productions.
In the past few years, it has become acceptable and "cool"
to not be on a big label. It may even be a great thing if money-grubbing
corporations who have controlled the music business for decades find
it less profitable and look elsewhere for their next gold mines. It
might make my little corner of the music business a happier place if
they bail out. Makes me wonder what effect Henry Ford had on horse breeders.
The arrival of the motorcar might have driven some big players out of
the horse business, but might have made life better for real horse lovers.
I wonÕt be retiring soon, though I should buy myself a gold watch for
30 years on the job. Better get on the phone and book some gigs, because
Otto is going to need a ball glove and a bike before I know it.
Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering (MLAG)
Here are a few pics from the '05 event. I really enjoyed myself. Made me wish our world leaders would sit around and play autoharp. I bet it would be a better world.
A room full of tuned harps and eager minds. Kind of daunting and inviting both to look out at this.
Partying with Patsy
Another MLAG highlight was meeting and hearing Patsy Stoneman. She is (I believe) the last survivor of Pop Stoneman's 23 kids (yes), and part of the legendary Stoneman Family of early country music. Patsy is tons of fun, and a slice of history. I want to be her when I grow up.
Boogie-ing With Bryan
It was a blast and an honor to play some songs at the MLAG Festival with autoharp legend Bryan Bowers. We did a duet version of Bill Staines' "Crossing the Water" and I got to hook my psychic jumper cables up to his amazing musical and life energy.
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