Thursday, August 17, 8pm, $5
From North Carolina
Raised in the Swannanoa Valley outside of Asheville, North Carolina, Reed Turchi grew up playing piano, focusing on boogie woogie and New Orleans styles before becoming infatuated with slide guitar. While learning Hill Country Blues (RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Mississippi Fred McDowell) firsthand in North Mississippi, he founded his blues-rock trio “TURCHI,” which released its debut album Road Ends in Water in 2012. Called “everything a blues fan could want” (LA Examiner), the album featured guest Luther Dickinson on three tracks.
During a series of national tours, Turchi released Live in Lafayette in early 2013, and exploded on the blues-rock scene, notably earning high praise from Living Blues Magazine (“for all of their communion with the past, TURCHI sounds vital, alive, and essential”), landing on the cover of Buscadero (Italy) and being showcased in a five-page feature in Il Blues Magazine (Italy). At that point, TURCHI’s national touring grew to include Europe, highlighted with a headlining spot at Mojo Festival (Rome) in June 2014 after the release of Can’t Bury Your Past, which expanded the trio with keyboards/organ (Anthony Farrell) and saxophone (Art Edmaiston).
Also in 2014, stemming from his tours in Italy, Reed began collaborating with renowned Italian guitarist Adriano Viterbini, leading to Scrapyard, an intimate, minimal, duo-guitar album recorded in Memphis and in Rome. Called “a marvelous example of talent and simplicity” (Bluebird Reviews, UK), the album earned a editor’s feature from iTunes (“blues chemistry overflowing with earthy delta slide and dark pulsing electric guitar”), and a spot on Tidal’s “editor’s playlist.”
After touring in the US and Europe behind “Scrapyard,” and continuing his search for new sounds, Reed moved from Western North Carolina to Memphis, where he immersed himself in the trademark grooves of soul and blues of the region.. It was a time of personal and musical change, leading Reed to disband TURCHI with the release of sendoff EP We Spoke in Song, recorded at an old JC Penney in Richmond VA amidst their final performances in October 2014.
Introduced to Tuareg music (Tinariwen, Bombino, Terakaft) by Adriano Viterbini during the Scrapyard touring, Reed began to write songs with a new sound in mind, combining influences ranging from Stax to Saharan blues, and started recording at Ardent Studios in April 2015. The result, Speaking in Shadows, was released in March 2016 on Devil Down Records and immediately recognized as a new and successful step.
After seven years, Tallahatchie is Turchi’s tenth released album and finds Turchi returning to the music that lead him to play guitar. Stripped of studio tricks, these songs are presented simply: slide, vocal, acoustic guitar, a wooden chair on a wooden floor. Tallahatchie is named after the river running through North Mississippi, homeland of Hill Country Blues, and is an homage to that genre and its patriarchs (RL Burnside, Fred McDowell, Otha Turner). Not merely a collection of covers, Tallahatchie transcends, as Turchi’s intimate singing, unmistakable slide, and hypnotic rhythms are clearly his own, refreshingly direct and deeply personal.
“Turchi proves to be an old soul…we feel like we are sitting right there in some lonely cabin deep amongst the pines and the kudzu sipping whiskey and listening to him play his heart out.” – Glide Magazine
“…delivered by Turchi’s voice and his slide guitar with the class and the charisma of a perfect Blues Troubadour. Tallahatchie is an album that goes beyond the pure and simple love for the traditions of the Hill Country Blues. It’s the most sincere labour of love possible of a musician that has never forgotten where his musical heart belongs to and always will.” – Bluebird Reviews
“(Tallahatchie) strips it bare to an honest bone – just man and guitar. You know the songs, and the meditative simplicity is just what we need to grasp something we think we know; a familiar reality in this time of cultural and political uncertainty. – Greg Vandy, KEXP
“As low-down and lonesome as the Blues may be, listening to the song—or playing it—is nevertheless cathartic, hard-won resilience washes away despair. The despair isn’t entirely removed, however; rather, like a long-handled broom, it is left leaning in the corner. And, of course, the work of composing new Blues music, is also an act of research and preservation. As with any folk tradition, one must reach back to the deepest roots. There one finds not singularity, but rich variety, styles and tunings and riffs that have blended together to be, ultimately, inseparable. And, yet, when the right player and the right voice perform the right songs, the result is wholly singular. That is how one working within a tradition makes an original contribution. And that is how I hear this fine record. Reed Turchi has delivered an original, unvarnished interpretation of a long musical tradition. Tallahatchie taps the sacred and profane roots behind it to make those mysterious, conflicted energies vital all over again. Such renewal keeps the art alive, and this record is as alive as a whippoorwill singing from a midnight hillside.” – Maurice Manning
Full Performance (Live on KEXP): www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugY4jEr9J8U
“Jumper on the Line” (Live at JITV HQ in Los Angeles, CA, 2017): www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fxa6RlkFnZo
Event page: www.facebook.com/events/1297857166966037