On the Record: An Interview With Reed Turner

reedt_3140.jpgMeet Austin’s latest gem – the charismatic, funny and multi-talented Reed Turner. The singer-songwriter of (if I had to label it) Alt-Rock / Alt-Folk / Americana (with elements of other genres), will take you on a journey with his vivid story-telling and soulful vocals on the new album Ghosts in the Attic. It’s a truly unique experience, which, as we all know, is hard to come by these days with all of the music out there. I’d highly recommend it. As Austin Woman Magazine put it, he’s “simply irresistible”.

Do you think that you fit into a particular genre? Is there a certain sound that you’re going for?
I don’t know that I fit into one particular genre, but I think that’s true of a lot of current artists. I love the melting pot that music has become, especially among independent musicians. The fluidity with which people combine genres is really inspiring.

Your most recent album Ghosts in the Attic is gorgeous. There’s a sort of haunting and flowing beauty to it. I love the harmonies. Tell me about the creative / songwriting process. What inspired it? How long did it take to come together?
Thanks for the kind words. This particular group of songs was pulled from about a year’s worth of material. As for the creative process, I write in character about as often as I write from my own perspective, which keeps things interesting. I’m not limited by my own viewpoints, beliefs, or life experiences that way, which is sometimes important. It affects the live performance too. I can feel the emotional shift that much more as we move from song to song.

Any major influences? Who would you like to collaborate with?
I’d love to work with T-Bone Burnett. I think he serves a song as well as any producer out there.

How did growing up in a buzzing music capital like Austin shape you as an artist? Did you always know you wanted to be a musician? You’re a great songwriter. When did you start writing songs?
I think growing up in Austin helped affirm the notion that music is an important part of our makeup, both as individuals and as a culture. It was (is) everywhere, all the time. I grew up in a house that had music playing 24/7, then I’d step outside and there would be music following me down the streets. I bought my first guitar when I was about 16 and started writing songs fairly soon after that. But if I’m being completely honest, I wanted to be a basketball player growing up. Still waiting on that call from the NBA – I’ve got a killer outside shot if anyone’s in the market.

You spent some time traveling around the country before moving back. What did you discover along the way? What brought you back to Austin?
An unbelievable amount – I discovered that this country is massive. I discovered what wonderful gifts both friendship and independence are. I discovered that people are inherently good. I discovered that each city has its own personality, and each state its own pride. I discovered that despite what I thought growing up, I really am a Texan in a lot of ways.I think it was just time for me to come back. I had some momentum career-wise, so that was pulling on me. I was really terrified of staying in Austin and living this sort of Groundhog Day, comfortable existence. But by that time I’d been gone for seven years. I had evolved so much as a person, and Austin so much as a city, that it felt more like another stop on the journey. The familiar faces were an added benefit.

You’ve been touring with some very well-known acts recently, including Gary Clark Jr. Do you have any particularly fond memories of those experiences? What have you learned from them?
Mostly I’ve learned to be gracious, and that it’s never acceptable to mail it in, whether you’re playing for 10 people or 10,000. Often when people are successful in this business, it’s with good reason. The show with Gary was pretty funny, actually. It was in Los Angeles, and for some reason that I’ll never understand the venue had me listed as the headliner. I called and begged them to change it, but they held firm that he’d be opening the show, even though I was playing solo and he had his whole band. I saw him in the green room and jokingly asked him to go easy on me, but he predictably went out and blew the roof off the place. He came back in, gave me a wink and said “I warmed them up for you.”

If you could play any venue in the country, what would be your first choice?
Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado – let me know if you’ve got the hookup.

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