Who the f#@% is Reed Turner???

Wanting to share information about Mr. Reed Turner was one of the initial catalysts for The Crafty Audiophile – and while he has made several appearances in terms of musings and been credited for several discoveries, I have not yet introduced him as an artist. And that is mostly because I’ve had a difficult time in writing this entry.

What music means for me and my involvement in music completely changed when I was introduced to Reed’s music, and as a result I find it difficult to introduce him as an artist to you without sounding like a crazed fan girl. I was also lucky enough to trick him into becoming a dear friend, and we have now had some amazing adventures together, which then makes me sound like the totally biased crazed fan girl. So, please excuse that completely irrepressible tone as we go forward. My only hope is that those that have been faithful followers of my blog have enough faith in my taste in music to look past all that.

My discovery of “who the F#@% is Reed Turner” began on a night of torrential downpours during a Portland conference. We became nearly instant friends, bonding over music, Helen Keller,  jazz hands, He-man and getting lost in parking garages. I even let him borrow my new Dead Man’s Bones CD at the end of the night. I never let anyone borrow music – so clearly this was something special. I returned to my hotel room to do what any music fan does after an evening with a musician – goes and finds their music on the internet. I joke that I wouldn’t have sought him out the next day if I had not LOVED what I heard – but there probably is some truth to that.

I returned home with his CD and spent that evening driving through the darkened countryside listening to his album, All My Running, for the first time. I was probably done for as soon as the first note flooded the car. I was completely captivated by the pure, crisp voice that was greeting me, his seemingly limitless range, the strength of the song writing, and the fullness of the arrangements. As the CD progressed part of me thought I had been sold a bill of goods – I felt it impossible that someone that was at the time 23 could have written songs of the depth that I was listening to.

If you love a good voice and well written songs, you really should go over to iTunes and download All My Running right now. The album is amazingly diverse, and I will always be impressed with any artist that can melt your heart one moment and melt you face in another (and somehow still make it sound like an album). I even named the album my Album of the Year in 2009, which might mean nothing to you – but is an annual tradition I take very seriously, even before having the blog as a platform. My favorite tracks have changed over time, but “Not Anymore” was an early favorite.

The song that seems to resonate most with me now is the title track. It’s not available on YouTube – guess you’ll have to download the album.

Before we go on, here are some facts about Reed Turner. He was born in Portland and raised in Austin. He likes plaid. He attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music where he majored in songwriting and general badassness. Since graduating he has lived in Los Angeles, Nashville and Portland – all of which you can hear evidence of in his music. He currently resides in Portland (well, at least until the end of the week). Since Berklee he has toured by car and airplane, making fans where ever he goes. This results in strange pockets of fans in places like Ohio, Kansas, and Idaho – these places look forward to extra “early adopter” coolness points as the world domination tour continues.

It’s been a year and a half since I initially met Reed and in that time I have heard him play countless times spanning the distance from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. Everytime I see him he comes armed with new songs, each one better than the last. After a show in December of 2009, a friend and I spent hours trying to google lyrics to determine who one of his songs was originally by. The friend guessed Dylan, I was at a loss. We were both wrong, it was a RT original. Lesson learned. That song…

He belongs to what I would consider the elite league of modern songwriters/balladeers with the likes of Josh Ritter and Joe Pug. I have no doubt that he will soon have the success to match. Since meeting Josh Ritter in 2009 I’ve wished for Reed to have the opening slot on on his tours – what a mindblowing experience that would be for the concert goers. (JR’s people, if you are reading – let me know where to send CDs/demos/bribes.)

Last week I visited him in Portland, where I was lucky enough to hear the rough cuts of the EP he hopes to release in August. I kind of equate rough cuts to letting someone see you when you first wake up in the morning – and am honored anytime someone shares something so intimate with me. Early opinion…the EP is going to change your life. The recording highlights everything Reed does so well – soaring vocals, unparalleled songwriting and emotion. It will showcase the best of what he has written since All My Running debuted. Quite simply – it’s beautiful, which not only means people will love it but that his music will undoubtedly underscore poignant scenes in both television and movies soon. You should probably buy it the day it comes out. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you. Here are some live versions of the songs to look forward to.

So, that’s Reed Turner. The abridged version, if you can believe it. I hope that you take a moment to listen to his music, and I truly hope that you love him as much as I do.

For more information, visit Reed’s website here.

Fan him on facebook here.

While we are at it, are you following me on twitter yet?

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