Drew Reid has been in the music business on his own terms for over forty years. In that time he has been a solo performer, songwriter, recorded four original independent projects, produced 12 songwriter festivals over a six year span, led or fronted numerous bands, worked as a consultant, promoter and roadie, and logged millions of miles in four tough little trucks, playing all over the USA.
He started playing folk and popular music in the coffeehouses and clubs of Central New York in the late 60's. In 1970 he joined his older brother's band, Scepter recording artists Agape` (ah-gah-pay) for concert and club tours in the Northeast. By 1971 he was traveling around the country working pick-up gigs, playing on the street, passing the hat, and doing day labor when none of that worked. Drew also served on the staff of several large rock festivals of that day and age.
Drew's first songwriting experience came through an association with George Moore, a New Haven, CT based multi-talented artist and performer. In short order they had written 60-70 songs and developed a stage show that attracted a buzz with the combination of an African American dynamo and a white bread hippie playing original folk, blues and funk in the culturally and politically charged atmosphere of Yale University in the early 1970's.
No deals were made,
however, and by 1973 Drew had relocated to Key West, FL residing in Old
Town in the midst of the cultural maelstrom evolving in the Island City.
"I dove right in that gumbo", he recalls "...everyone was such a character...the clubs were big into original music and booked three acts a day, every day. That was when it was dirt cheap to live there, too."
Drew played Blues, Rock, Country and Reggae to audiences from around the world, sang in bands, wrote songs, and developed his solo act. His bluegrass group the Solares Hill String Band appeared in concert with Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers. He was a regular on local radio, played many political functions, and started producing shows on the island as well. Noted artist and songwriter Shel Silverstein approached Drew to work on several projects, and Drew eventually arranged and recorded some 30 demos for Shel.
By 1984 he decided to return to America, and moved to Tallahassee, Florida's capital city. Here Drew quickly became a stalwart of the regional club circuit performing up to 50 weeks a year in an area from St. Augustine, FL west to Mobile, AL. He enjoyed a tenure at the world famous Flora-Bama Lounge and was invited to appear at the Frank Brown International Songwriters Fest 1988-1998. This was where Drew encountered such luminaries as Mickey Newbury, Billy Jo Shaver, Hank Cochran and Red Lane, and observed the masters at work. He decided to move to Nashville and has been based in Music City on and off since 1992.
In the mid-1980's Drew produced Safe At The Plate, a seven-song sampler that sold out in months. In 1995 he came out with Journey Proud, his first full-length project. Journey Proud has received airplay from Amsterdam to Albuquerque and enjoyed steady sales since its release.
Touring behind the first CD, Drew returned to his Key West roots performing at the Hog's Breath Saloon and old haunts like The Green Parrot and The Bull & Whistle (formerly Lou's Bar). In May of 1996 he co-produced the first Key West Songwriters Fest, which has blossomed into one of the most renowned festivals in the country, presenting greats like Shel Silverstein, Mickey Newbury, Gretchen Peters, Mac McAnally, Miranda Lambert, Billy Dean...the list goes on and on. In 1997 he added the Southwest Florida Songwriters Fest with the same wonderful talents playing "Hit Songs By The Folks Who Wrote 'Em"™ on the barrier islands of Southwest Florida.
Though the majority of his experience has been in live performance and event production, in 2001 Drew began to think of a different project. A lifelong amatuer historian with great interest in the Civil War, he'd included the song Kennesaw Line on Journey Proud about the battle outside of Atlanta in 1864, which generated a considerable amount of response. He started writing in the summer and fall, and the result is the The American War 1861-1865, a collection of original songs interwoven with traditional instrumentals of the Civil War period. His concept was to use only musical instruments that existed at the time of the War, and to record the songs live. He recruited some tremendous old timey players, and the album sounds like you are sitting around a fire with the troops in camp...
Drew returned to a Reid family tradition, journalism, at the turn of the century. He enjoyed a five year run as Nashville correspondent for online magazine The Country Grapevine, reaching up to 500,000 readers a month. His CD reviews, insighhts into the business and predictions on trends in country music were usually about six months to a year ahead of the curve.
His latest CD release is Rogues On The Way, featuring the cream of Drew's original material of the past ten years. Backed up by ace Nashville and North Florida studio musicians, Drew has crafted a very real record of his latest writings and artistic outlook.
Continuing his roadwork, Drew started appearing
annually at the Bright Angel Lodge on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
in 2006. He's there generally the last week of July and first week of
August. In the studio, he has cut demos of recent songs with the ever
reliable Stick Davis on bass and members of Nanci Griffith's band in
Interesting fact about Drew Reid: In 1998 he appeared on the popular TV game show Jeopardy!, departing as a two-day champion.
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