comes to Burlington
Written by Matt Powers
Singer/songwriter Reid Genauer came to Higher
Ground recently for a special Valentine's Day show.
The nearly sold out show
showcased Genauer by himself for a mini-set, followed by a two and a half hour
set by he and his band (Nate Wilson, keyboards; Andy Herrick, drums; Adam
Terrell, lead guitar; John Leccese, bass).
The band ran through the full song
catalogue, taking time to put their own take on familiar Strangefolk songs, as
well as showcasing their own unique, emerging style.
After the show, I sat
down with Genauer to ask him a few questions.
Echo - The band
displayed tonight that it really has its own sound -- the funked up bridge on
Stouthearted, the bass groove set in the Dance jam -- is it the product of a
desire on your part to try to really change some of the songs up or more just
the product of you having four new people around you with different things to
RG: It's a combination of things. Largely, it
is what you suggest, that we have four new musical minds there. Someone will
say, "Hey, why don't we try this?" So some of the things we do never got to be
done with Strangefolk because that mind didn't exist. That's part. And part of
it is that I envisioned things that never happened in Strangefolk for one reason
or another and I am able to sort of articulate them with this group and we're
starting with a clean slate, so we capture it from the
Echo - A song like 45 degrees, where the way the band
performed it tonight, if you close your eyes, you'd think you were in a jazz
club. Is that something where you came in and said "let's jazz this
RG: No, that's Nate Wilson (keyboardist) coming
alive. A change that was more intentional is the porno-version, as somebody
called it, of Strange Ranger, where it's almost more hip-hop or something. And
that's kind of how I had always envisioned the song, but for one reason or
another it never came out that way. It was something equally as good and
different and it evolved but that was something that was more intentional and
Echo: When you talk about envisioned stuff, are there
some things that you would like to do in the future to branch out?
RG: One of the things I would like to do is a real acoustic set
with a grand piano and an upright bass; do a whole coffeehouse set. The other
thing that I would like to do someday, we're making a CD now, is to have a huge
band on stage, that's something I've always wanted to try - percussion, soul
singers, have it be a carnival. Not that that would be the form the band for
always But just go do a run like that with the Paul Simon-type thing.
Echo: Any particular soul singer?
RG: No, I'm
actually trying to get the girls from Belizbeha to come and do some stuff, so
we'll see if that happens or not. But I have always really admired the way they
Echo: Tell me about the album.
RG: Basically, it's a work-in-progress and the nice thing is that
there's no tour, no immediacy to it, I don't know when it's going to come out.
We're just kind of taking time and piecing it together to make sure that it's
done right. It's nice that the pressure's off for once and we can just work on
Echo: Any names yet, Reid & Friends,
RG: Not yet.
Echo: As far as
goals for the album, anything you are going in with a specific desire or
intention for? Are you going to try to get that percussion, soul singer sound in
RG: Yeah, we've got the percussion done.
That's already there and I think we are going to try to get the soul singer
thing in there. The vision is to make a warm, big album and take a step forward.
Right now, people are coming to see us purely based solely on the past, on a
legacy, this will be a nice a chance for me to artistically take a step forward.
That's something I'm looking forward to.
And it's also a promotional vehicle.
Right now the reason people come is because of 'Reid: formerly of Strangefolk.'
And it will be like, here is a CD that's something that's now, that's not Reid,
formerly of anything but Reid, currently of whatever.
tour is bringing you around the east coast. Are there any particular venues that
you enjoy more than others, that you really look forward to playing
RG: Not really. Higher Ground is a great club as
far as club's go. I'd also like to get into more of the small theaters because
it's a little bit more of a show. So, I look forward to getting into places like
the Portsmouth Music Hall, State Theater, hopefully one day the Flynn again. I
really cherish those moments. And clubs are great because there is a rawness and
energy and intensity to it but there's a lack of elegance. A lack of drama in
some ways which is replaced by energy but clubs are a different beast, for
Echo: My younger brother and I enjoy doing the island scene
scenario of taking five albums with you for the rest of your life. Have you get
any set ones?
RG: I don't know, that's a hard
question. I really would have a tough time. I mean, I listened to Lucinda
Williams album today. I mean, she's kind of a girlie band but the song writing
is phenomenal and the band behind her is absolutely great. I just listened to
that today, so I don't know as if I'd bring it with me to a desert island. I
could probably bring five Dead bootlegs with me and that would do it. Or 50. I
think that would be my answer.
Echo: How does writing change for
you now that your not always on-tour, in a van -- is it a slower
RG: It is a slower pace. There's just less
incentive for it because I'm playing fewer shows and my life is busy in other
ways. What I used to do is that I would have four song ideas when I was with
Strangefolk and when I got a few weeks off, I would say to myself 'I'm going to
bang these out now' and I would. And now I have two, three, four ideas and they
sit with me for weeks so I work with them a day here and a day there and it kind
of just slowly comes out. There's something to be said for that, though. It's a
little less forced and you can divorce yourself from your own ideas a little
bit. Sometimes even when you're trying to be mature about writing you get
committed to it and you drive through that idea, even if it's not really the
best. Whereas if you have the luxury of time and you can have a writing session,
recording session and then walk away from it and come back, the immediacy washes
away and you can look at it with fresh eyes and hear it with fresh ears. Maybe
it is right, maybe it's not and you have just say - hell with it - and trash it
Echo: As far as song writing goes, is there any way you could
see yourself collaborating with Strangefolk to make some more
RG: You know, it's funny, I would love to. I
don't know if it's a reality or not but I look back at Strangefolk and many of
the one's I like the most are the ones I wrote with Jon or Eric because there's
two minds in it, so they are typically more interesting. Eric writes great,
poppy chord progressions and then to put a folky melody line or lyric on top of
that I thought was cool. And Jon just has a million cool musical ideas. So it
was always a powerful combination and I would like to find that -- whether it is
with them or something else. Just to get some input rather than having to rely
on your own mind. You know when you have a conversation you recycle your
thought. So, it's not the identical conversation but it has a similar feel,
similar vibe, similar emotional content, and, often times, similar actual
content -- depending on what you're talking about. So if you have somebody else
to speak with, tag teaming, it makes for a more interesting, dynamic piece.
Echo: So who's dog is Moses in Sinner?
RG:Actually, that's funny, it's a song I co-wrote with Eric and
it's about Trafton's dog. It was the family dog who was apparently a bastard and
Echo: Paul McCartney: washed up sap or musical
RG: Musical genius who is washed up. I have
nothing but respect for him but he is what he is. I cringe at some of his public
appearances. But musically, both he and Lennon, I bow down. It would be
interesting to see what Lennon would do if he were still alive.
McCartney's thing is that he has been in the spotlight since he was a kid and he
has lost his bearings on what's appropriate and what's not. It could be that
he's not that comfortable in the spotlight. I don't know, I cringe
Echo: How's it feel to be in the spotlight again but on
more a short term basis, as far as touring goes?
It's nice because you're not afraid of having to put out as much energy as you
can. You don't have to worry because you've got to do it forty more nights in a
row. You can blow it all and then go home and recuperate.