For those of you who thought I had retired to my yacht in the Caribbean,
or had a computer crash and lost your address, here is the 6th annual HR
newsletter. I have been staying home somewhat this year; I had a productive
garden, painted & worked on my house, and made good progress toward
the goal of someday having a life. The Fall weather was so good I am a few
weeks behind with the newsletter and the new album.
I look at it as a reverse midlife crisis, and a vacation. I bet most of you think about traveling somewhere, staying in a hotel, going out to eat and catching a show... this is what I do for a living! So my idea of a good time is to stay home, no phone calls, no information, & cook my own food. Nothing like scraping paint and pounding nails for a few weeks to make you want to go back to being a guitar player again. Just like a vacation is supposed to do. Harvey Reid
* In the September 1996 issue of Acoustic Music Magazine they
picked the top 100 Essential CD's of all time, and sorted them 10 each by
various categories, Steel Drivin' Man made the Top 10 Folk
CD's list!! Details inside.
* I was included in a new book from Mel Bay Publications titled Portraits of Christmas for Fingerstyle Guitar, put out by Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine. They included my version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen in TAB and music along with 11 other cuts by other great players. The book comes with a CD included! You can order one from us for $22.95 + $2 shipping. There is very little of my music written out anywhere, so for you who have been asking for it, here is at least one more song.
* On June 14, 1996 I went into a TV studio in Newburyport, MA and taped about a dozen songs that I am planning to release soon as a video you can buy. Included on the tape are Hard Times, Silver Midnight Moon, Amazing Grace/Swing Low, Rising Sun Blues, Sing Me A Lullaby, Missing A Train, Show Me the Road, Waltz of the Waves/Crown the Queen, Red in the Sky, 5 Cent Cigar, and a couple more. There's nice camera work, clear sound, nothing cheesy, no make-up, and good closeups of the instruments for those of you who have wanted something like this. All the songs were first takes, and they are completely unedited, live, just the way it happened. This is consistent with the no-frills, no trickery way I like to record my albums. It will take a few months to get them into production. They will go on sale in the late winter I am guessing. The WEB site will have the latest info.
* Guitar Player Magazine included me in a one-page lesson earlier this year, where they printed part of my arrangement of Fur Elise and let me write a few paragraphs about the piece and about the unusual use of an open tuning and a partial capo.
* Got some rave reviews on last year's album Artistry of the 6-string Banjo. Acoustic Guitar Magazine said "Reid does more than you would have thought possible with this instrument... It's a revelation and a delight." Victory Review said "...the timing, light and percussive attacks, the sensibility to the instrument and to the tunes shines out. This is a must buy for guitar and banjo players and brings a new instrument to our repertoire."
* Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine just published an essay of mine titled Plugging in a Bluegrass Band in the Age of Unplugged. (It's in the Festival Issue)
IT HAD TO HAPPEN EVENTUALLY
Rising costs have forced me to raise the shipping cost of mail order items from $1 (where it has been since 1986) to $2.
Went to central Nevada in August to warm my bones, play music, and eat
some Basque food. They actually have a big sign in the center of town in
a little park where they call this place the Gateway to the Sea because
there is a road there you can drive to the Pacific Ocean. Stretching it,
methinks. I guess I should call York, Maine the Gateway to the Desert.
Stopped for a refreshing snack while shoveling off my roof during the
snowiest winter of all time last year. (Here in Maine, we eat snow like
this for breakfast.) This is the back part of my garage, for those of you
who can see what bad shape the building and roof are in, and the house is
in better shape. My snowblower says right in the manual that it should not
be used on a roof, so I had to do it the old way, in the manner of our Pilgrim
ancestors. (E. Healy)
I have been selling records now for 15 years, and have done business
with thousands of individuals and hundreds of stores, shops and distributors.
There have been a number of stores who have filed bankruptcy and stiffed
me for unpaid product, but of those who are still in business, guess who
is the #1 delinquent account I have, whom I am threatening to sue, and may
end up picketing because they ignore my bills and phone calls, and will
not pay me the $ they owe me?
Tower Records. I have dealt with both Tower Boston and Tower Cambridge, and Boston finally paid me after 3 years and dozens of faxes & phone calls, and now Cambridge is doing the same thing. Please do me and us other independent struggling musicians a favor, and don't shop there, and tell all your friends that they cheat independent artists. I even warned them that I was going to put this in my newsletter if they didn't pay me, and they don't seem to care. I will stop short of actually putting a curse on them, since I don't want to hurt any of the employees or endanger any property.
I cannot afford a 24 hr receptionist to answer my phone, yet many of you want information about schedules, concerts or recordings that is too lengthy to fit on a standard outgoing message. To order something, get my schedule, information on special concerts, etc.- call any time, and feel free to leave a message.
Readying for a new career on "This Old House." (No pane, no gain, they say.) You painters out there have nothing to fear from me. I didn't fall (I am tied to the building, for you who might be concerned) or even break a nail. Fingernail, that is.
The WEB SITE IS HAPPENING
Got this WEB site up and running in Jan. '96, and it is turning out to be a
great thing. In Jan. '97 it received the prestigious Net Guide Gold Award
for excellence. I spent a lot of energy putting song lyrics, liner notes
to recordings, schedules, info about the gear I use, historic photos, essays,
articles, interviews, reviews from various publications, etc. It would be way
too expensive to print and mail this information to people, but it is a snap
to put it there if anybody wants it. I wrote an article about ASCAP and BMI
that numerous magazines declined to publish, and I put it up on the WEB site
and have gotten a steady stream of mail from people who liked it or disagreed
with it, but who would otherwise never have had access to it. (Magazines are
in the business of selling ads; if they print the truth it is nice, but don't
count on complete, in-depth coverage.) The web site has a very in-depth interview
I did years ago for the now-defunct Autoharpoholic Magazine that would
have been very hard for anyone to find otherwise.
The music industry has been dominated so much by huge corporations, and for decades there has been no way for the public to find out about lesser known artists, due to the amazing amount of control they have over radio playlists, record store shelves and print media. The Internet is the people's media, and it is just as easy to find me as it is to find General Motors. I am very excited about the prospect of being able to get my message out in such a convenient and cost-effective way. I feel like this gives me some hope and that maybe the world will allow us all access to differing viewpoints and things that individuals have to say, rather than just the carefully controlled propaganda of governments and large organizations. The site has been getting several thousands of hits a week pretty steadily, seeming to indicate that other people are interested. They might all be bird-lovers looking for information on Woodpeckers, though...
A roadside egg vendor near Newburgh, Maine gets this year's funny sign award. Too bad you can't do a Maine accent in print. (PHOTO: HR) (It says "Any fresher they would be whistling at the ladies."
1) another guitar album
2) an all-original, slightly produced album
3) another Christmas album
4) a duets album
(your suggestions are always welcome)
Interesting gig of the year... last year went to the Tour
de Sol in Waterbury CT. Here's moi with one of the entrants in the solar
car race. Now if they could make a cold & rain & clouds powered
vehicle it would really catch on here in Maine. (M. Scott)
It's America, and we are obsessed with success. It is hard enough to
achieve, but even harder to define, though I am working on it. (Success,
and defining success, both.) To measure it you obviously need a balance
of many factors, and the almight dollar is only one of them, at least when
you are a musician. I am working on the Musician's Life Quality Index.
It is a composite index made up of many weighted factors, based on a per/month
basis, some which will be positive and other negative factors:
· # of records sold
· # of tickets sold
· # of miles driven
· # of times vehicle breaks down
· # of weather catastrophes that coincide with important gigs
· # of nights slept in your own bed
· # of meals (esp. expletive burgers) eaten at fast food chains
· # of lousy cups of coffee and beers you have to accept
· average # of coffee cups on your dashboard (possibly also # of empty food and beverage containers in your car)
· # of hours you actually get to play music
· depth (in inches) of the pile of paper on your desk
· depth (in feet) of the laundry pile in your bedroom
· # of house plants dead from neglect
· average balance of unanswered letters & phone calls
· # of hours/month of quality romantic time with the person of your choice (yourself not counted...)
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This web site concerns the music and life of acoustic musician, writer & music educator Harvey Reid.
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