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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Harmonica Whomp! - Abe Reid


Abe Reid was born in Statesville, North Carolina in 1972. His first foray into music started at a mere 8 years old when his mom's then current boyfriend, Tim bought him a guitar, introduced him to blues music and began teaching him how to play. Eventually, he expanded his repertoire with harmonicas, kazoos, and various other instruments. Aside from Tim's instrument coaching, Abe never had any formal training or lessons. He says, "We didn't have a radio in our car so my mom would always sing songs to me."

Abe made his first public appearance at the early age of 12, playing at a fiddler's convention with Tim. He knew then that he wanted to be a musician. At age 16 he met Tim Duffy, founder of Music Maker Relief Foundation, at a blues festival. Duffy told him that he knew where to find "a real live bluesman" and introduced Abe to the infamous Guitar Gabriel. Abe played harmonica with him and Gabe told him he was good. That gave Abe the confidence he needed to continue to move forward in the music industry. That chance meeting is also what inspired Abe to focus in the early days on blues in particular.

Abe started playing gigs for local parties, friends, etc., but still felt he needed to grow and gain more confidence. "It's kind of hard to take on the persona of an old black dude in your hometown where all the people know you...so I [went to] New Orleans to sing like I wanted to try to sing and do the things that I knew that I could do..."

At age 19, he left North Carolina for the streets of New Orleans. He stayed for about 6 months, playing mostly blues and ragtime, all the while gaining more confidence to play in front of larger crowds. After his New Orleans experience, he returned to North Carolina, this time to Asheville, and joined a local band playing southern rock at various venues. After 6 months, he headed back to Statesville and formed the Blue Rags where he sang lead vocals and played harmonica. The band frequented various clubs, festivals and private parties, even opening for Colonel Bruce Hampton.

The Blue Rags quickly became known as a premier rag-n-roll band shooting off fabulous original blues tunes as well as terrific covers of old favorites. Featured on the cover of Mountain Xpress three different times, the band was voted by Creative Loafing magazine as the best blues band twice and the best band in Charlotte, N.C. Soon after signing with Sub Pop records, Abe and the band parted ways.

In 1998, Abe went solo and entered the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society's Talent Contest. He won first prize and a trip to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Talent Competition. The only solo act out of 34 selected to compete in the contest, Abe won and took home the honor of "Best Blues Band in the Land." In addition to taking home 20 hours of recording time, $1,000 and 1,000 complete CDs, he also received performance slots at the 1999 W.C. Handy Blues Awards in Memphis, TN, King Biscuit Blues Festival, Springing the Blues Festival, the Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival as well as bookings at over a dozen clubs nationwide.

In 2001, Abe went back to the band concept and started Abe Reid and the Spikedrivers. The band released their first CD Caution: Falling Boogie, featuring the local hit, "Fern Gully Lace". Abe recently relocated to Maryland and signed with Aces and Eights Productions, LLC. He is currently booking local venues while working on his next CD and preparing for an East Coast tour. Today, Abe's music combines blues, funk, rock, and punk with a splash of country, creating infectious melodies that take on a life of their own. Abe has overwhelmed audiences of every background with his screamin' harmonica, rock-solid guitar and raspy, howlin' vocals.
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