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A happy time around our home. Papa twanging, Mama fiddling, Otto rockin'.

The Masked Newsletter Rides Again...
This is now the 17th year in a row I have fired up the coffee pot and cranked out the trusty newsletter, to inform and amuse and to remind those of you who have not moved to a new address that I am alive and well. I am now in my 4th decade of playing music for a living (33 years without a job), and still going strong, though the week I do this thing is usually leaf-raking season here in Maine. I am no longer a Spring Chicken and I don't even remember the last time I was "carded" when buying beer, but I am now older, wiser and more careful. I don't need to party as hard as I did to feel like I am enjoying life. If you believe the news media you would think that musicians were a dying breed and that electrons were going to bankrupt all entertainers. I say "not so"-- the combination of the fact that I now have a 2-year old boy to feed and clothe, plus my eternal belief in the importance, relevance and power of music-- is keeping me tuned up, raring to go, and on the road.

I stayed home a lot in '07 to be with my boy and my wife, but cranked out my largest creative project ever (see below) and plan to soldier on valiantly and relentlessly in the cause of modern minstrelsy. I am long past whatever mid-life crises might have led me away from music, and glad of it. I hope that our civilization can survive, and I am not excited about wandering around, wearing animal skins, with an autoharp and a donkey in a post-industrial world, finding people huddling in their bunkers, cooking over open fires, singing to them for a drink of ale and a bowl of gruel. But I will do it if I need to. I prefer theaters and coffeehouses, hot coffee, wi-fi internet, rental cars and clean hotels, but so does everybody.

Wish me luck & good health please, go to concerts, don't stop buying CD's, and take good care of yourselves...

Chordally yours,

Harvey Reid

*  *   N   E   W  S       B  R  I   E  F  S   *  *

Neither Joyce and I have ever done "educational" shows, and have turned down a number of nice offers to do school gigs and such. Now that we have made "The Song Train" we are excited about putting together a live performance based on this recording, that would be educational as well as completely in the spirit of who we are as artists. We don't have a list of the people who asked us do put together a show like this, so if you are involved with that sort of thing, please contact us.

My next recording...

will be a solo project. The most requests I get are for a blues or blues-flavored album. I want to make another guitar record, but now that I am chasing a little boy around, it could be a while till I get any large blocks of uninterrupted time in my life again to do that. I am probably going to start work on a blues record in '08, though I may reissue the out-of-print "Of Wind & Water," since it will be its 20th anniversary.

I have asked you guys in the past about doing a music vacation with me. It finally worked out, and my old music buddy Brian Silber is starting up "Island Music Journeys" in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands in 2008 with our friends Richard & Julie Smith as musicians. I hope to book a week with him there sometime in the future. It'll be at a lovely B & B in a lovely place.

Eventually you’ll be dropped off the mailing list if you are not updated. I only send paper newsletters to addresses newer than 10 years. Please update if you can. I don't sell, trade or give away your information. Send an e-mail to

Postal costs jumped dramatically in '07, and I did not raise the shipping costs of my mail-order recordings. I look at this as a way of lowering the price of the CD's, which, incidentally, has not changed since 1988 when I made my first one. I actually lose money charging $2 for shipping, but that's OK.

I applied to sell my music on iTunes and was rejected. If you shop there or have any pull at Apple, request that they carry my music.

My Holiday concerts have ramped up, even after 20 years of having very busy Decembers, now that Joyce Andersen and I released our collaboration "Christmas Morning" CD in 2005. This year we have the most concerts ever, and hope the weather cooperates.
We have thousands of December miles to drive around Northern New England, and will be playing in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York between Dec 1 and 22, spreading Holiday cheer as we go. Remember that we are usually driving farther than any of the audience, so if there is some snow, if we can get to the show you ought to be able to make it too.

Au Pair?

Let us know if you have any children, friends or relatives who might want to do an au pair thing, and maybe come along with Joyce & me to a festival or on a tour, watch Otto, and see some of the world. Might be extra good if they want to learn more about music.

Big New Project!  The Song Train

Available December 1 2007

I have not done anything "educational" in over 25 years, except for my Capo Inventions book last year, which was aimed at the tiny audience of serious fingerstyle guitar players.
This year’s music project is my most ambitious ever, and it is designed to be helpful to anyone who wants to play music. After watching people learn music my whole life, I finally realized what was missing and what Joyce & I could offer to help out.
It's sort of a paradox-- you can't really learn a piece of music unless you are already familiar with it. And if you don't know a song exists, you just don't, and it's not your fault. We don't really inherit our musical culture anymore, it is largely merchandised to us, and songs that are owned by big players in the game reach the most people. There is no benevolent force making sure that people hear and become familiar with songs that are great for beginners to learn to play. So that is what we did.

People usually start with a recording they like, of a song that moves them, and try to learn to play it. Music instruction materials try to teach you to play without addressing a repertoire of songs, that are really what get you going. Many almost ignore the issue of playing songs and try to teach guitar skills, sort of in a void.

So Joyce Andersen and I rounded up 56 easy but great songs (they all have 1 or 2 chords...) and recorded our versions of them. We just played 2 simple chords, but we sang and played the same otherwise as we always would, and it sounds like one of our duo records, except the songs are structurally not hard. Since it is an album and not a book, we were legally allowed to record copyrighted songs, so there are traditional songs but also modern ones by Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, JJ Cale, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams and other great songwriters. It's an amazing body of music, and anyone can play it.
We packaged it lavishly in a 4-CD set with an 80-page color illustrated hardback book that explains everything we are doing, with a discography, chord charts, history of the songs and the artists, and all sorts of useful information, advice, basic music theory and things you need to know to bang out some songs on your guitar. We think "The Song Train" is something that will be extremely useful and inspiring to all sorts of people, and we still can't believe nobody ever thought of doing this before.

$49.95 + $5 shipping.
There is a lot more to read about it at


Our son Otto turned 2 in August. We didn't push music too hard on him, and this past year he has been largely obsessed with trucks, tractors and tools. He seems to think that screwdrivers are currency, and the more he can have in a pile the wealthier he is.
But he can keep a steady rhythm and he can sing on pitch, and is showing a lot of interest in music which of course thrills us. We'd love him to become a shiftless musician.

Helping Papa do some weeding with his birthday wheelbarrow


He does seem to like the autoharp. Probably because it comes with a wrench.

Wanting badly to drive this 1940's Farmall tractor...

Helping Greg Deering fix Papa's banjo...



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