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Artist of the Month for October 2002: Dennis Roger Reed

Name: Dennis Roger Reed
Age: Older than 50, younger than 51
Town: San Clemente, CA
Hometown: Buena Park, CA
When did you start playing guitar?
Seriously at about 16, though I had tortured my parents for a few years prior.

First guitar: I beat up a Harmony thin hollow electric and various Japanese solid bodies, but my first real guitar was a little cherry wood Gibson acoustic when I was about 16.

Early Influences: Lots of local Southern California country musicians, the Beatles, the Byrds.
First gig: I honestly don’t remember, but played in bluegrass festival contests while in college. My first real band, Dog in a Hole, played a few festivals, and did a live concert on KPFK in Los Angeles in 1976.

Guitars and other stringed instruments you own: Goodall Traditional D mahogany, Martin kit Shenandoah D-35 acoustic guitar, DonMo bell brass Tricone, Donmo wooden acoustic/electric Tricone, 1930 National O Style, 1920’s Sterling mandolin, Donmo wooden reso mandolin, Donmo bell brass reso mandolin, Charvel electric bass.

Favorite Guitar: Goodall Traditional D. What a cannon!

Your Style: Bluegrass/blues/country/acoustic folk rock roots mutant music.

How did you develop your style?
My dad was from the Ozarks, so I grew up listening to a wide variety of country music, including bluegrass and western swing. I was in junior high when the Beatles hit the US, and everything just metamorphosed from there. My brother Don also plays and frankly is a vastly better guitarist than I, so singing and songwriting seemed like a good niche.

Practice Regimen: Very sporadic… but I play gigs at least three weekends each month. The last couple of years I’ve been trying to learn fingerstyle and open tunings… and have attended the IGS West Coast schools.

Favorite Artist(s): Too numerous to mention… I like a lot of different folk, blues, bluegrass and rock artists. See my CD for a long, long list of influences and favorite artists.

Dennis Roger Reed has played for more than two decades on his own and with a variety of bluegrass, folk, rock, and blues bands. Reed performed for five years as the bass player and high harmony singer with the Andy Rau Band, recording two CDs on Turquoise Records of Whitesburg, KY. He also currently plays in the roots-rock band Blue Mama, and has recorded two CDs on PlasticMeltdown Records of San Clemente, CA as a member of this band.

Reed writes, sings and plays guitar, mandolin and bass. He has been featured in magazines such as Bluegrass Unlimited, and Acoustic Musician, and was the subject of a feature article in Bass Player Magazine.

Reed has shared billing with talent such as the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Peter Rowan, David Grisman, Tim O’Brien, Steve Gillette, Doug Kershaw, Rose Maddox, J.J. Cale, Don Dixon and Marti Jones, Katy Moffatt, Ian Tyson, John Mayall, Mick Taylor, Dave Davies, Joe Louis Walker, Roy BookBinder, Bo Diddley, Little Richard and B.B. King. Reed has traveled and performed throughout the US and Canada at folk, blues and bluegrass festivals, including the High Sierra Festival, the Prescott Bluegrass Festival, the Bitter Root Bluegrass Festival, the Napa Bluegrass Festival, Follows Camp, the Tucson Folk Festival, the Doheny Blues Festival and many others.

Reed has done live radio concerts on KPFK in Los Angeles, KPCC in Pasadena and KSBR in Mission Viejo. His recent solo recording, “Little King of Dreams,” has garnered airplay throughout North America, Europe, South Africa and Australia.

The Los Angeles Times John Roos stated “Reed’s work is rich in American music, roaming freely among country, folk, bluegrass, swing, rock and the blues.” Bluegrass Now printed “Dennis Roger Reed has an earthy quality to his voice that helps his songs blend into the bluegrass format.” Bluegrass Unlimited’s Jon Hartley Fox said “Dennis Reed is a singer with an ironic delivery that is occasionally reminiscent of the late Steve Goodman.” WORT-FM, Madison, Wisconsin, radio host Chris Powers had this to say: “Reed ’s music has a relaxed yet lively feel, backed by the pure clean sound of American stringed instruments. His songwriting has an immediate appeal, inventive and catchy, its message clear and plain-spoken.”

1991: Nickels & Dimes, The Reed Brothers, Lime Circle Records, out of print
1993: On the Horizon, The Andy Rau Band, Turquoise Records
1995: Different Man, The Andy Rau Band, Turquoise Records
1997: Saturday Night Suburbia, Blue Mama, PlasticMeltdown Records
2000: Little King of Dreams, Dennis Roger Reed, PlasticMeltdown Records
2001: Pacific Street, Blue Mama, PlasticMeltdown Records

The Andy Rau Band recordings are available at www.towerrecords.com and www.theandyrauband.com and others.

The Blue Mama recordings are available at www.theorchard.com , www.amazon.com , www.cdnow.com , www.dwmmusic.com , www.bluemama.com and others.

The Dennis Roger Reed recording is available at www.dwmmusic.com , www.folkweb.com , www.tricopolisrecords.com , www.milesofmusic.com , www.theorchard.com , www.amazon.com , www.cdnow.com , and others. More info at www.dennisrogerreed.com

AOTM Archives:

August 2008 - Danny Combs
March 2006 - Bryan Clark
Februry 2006 - Darin Leong
January 2006 - Andy McKee
December 2005 - Don Alder
November 2005 - Doug Young
October 2005 - Nancy Conescu
August - September 2005 - Warren Greig
July 2005 - Ian Melrose
June 2005 - Roger Lasley
May 2005 - Jim Tozier
April 2005 - Jessica Papkoff
March 2005 - Todd Habekost
February 2005 - Michael Hewett
January 2005 - Steve Barney
December 2004 - Tony McManus
November 2004 - Chris Newman
October 2004 - Kevin Kastning
September 2004 - Rick Duke
August 2004 - El McMeen
June-July 2004 - Charles David Alexander
May 2004 - Tony Capri
April 2004 - Shane Simpson
March 2004 - Bill Cooley
February 2004 - Greg Meckes
January 2004 - Gary Leek
December 2003 - Ernie Hawkins
November 2003 - Keith Knight
October 2003 - Jaquie Gipson
September 2003 - Chuck Durfor
August 2003 - Cathy Horner
July 2003 - Art Edelstein
June 2003 - Muriel Anderson
May 2003 - Clarelynn Rose
March-April 2003 - Steve Wildey
February 2003 - Rick Ruskin
January 2003 - Kerry Kling
December 2002 - Tim O'Brien
November 2002 - Howard Emerson
October 2002 - Dennis Roger Reed
September 2002 - Larry Pattis
August 2002 - Paul Asbell
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