Harvey Reid is a songwriter and also a master of multiple instruments. He has carefully honed his craft over many years at countless clubs, festivals, on many a street corner, cafes, schools, and concert halls all across the nation. Some have called him the "renaissance man of folk music." He has made his study the vast repertoire of American music and crafted it into his own personal and distinctively colorful style. His dozen-plus solo albums on Woodpecker Records serve well to showcase his mastery of many instruments and styles of acoustic music. These range from hip folk to country, slashing slide guitar blues to bluegrass, old-time, Celtic, ragtime, and classical. Harvey Reid's skills and versatile ability on the guitar alone have marked him as a sought-out artist in acoustic music. An accomplishment that won him the 1981 National Fingerpicking Guitar Competition as well as the 1982 International Autoharp competition. He is an outstanding veteran musician with a long list of studio and band credits. Another award came from being a strong flat picker which won him the Beanblossom Bluegrass Guitar Contest. Harvey Reid is also a versatile and engaging singer, a powerful lyricist, prolific composer, and arranger. His talents also abound as a solid mandolin and bouzouki player, as well as being a seasoned performer and entertainer. Other instruments he plays are the six-string banjo and the autoharp. Harvey Reid has been described as somewhat reclusive, but his reputation as a musician's musician is spreading fast. Though he is not associated with any major record labels or any of the hype media, his music is having an impact on the industry.
He was included on the 1995 Rhino Records Acoustic Music of the 90's album, and his Steel Drivin' Man album was voted in 1996 by Acoustic Guitar Magazine as one of the Top Ten Essential Folk Album's of All Time. His music has appeared on the blockbuster BBC television series Billy Connolly's World Tour of Scotland. Reid has become a featured and appreciated act at many of America's premier concert clubs and festivals. Some of these include the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the Walnut Valley Festival. DJs and critics nationwide are only now discovering his remarkable recordings. Audiences from coast to coast are flocking to catch his exciting and uplifting musical performances. He has sold nearly 100,000, increasing daily, of his highly acclaimed recordings on his own record label, Woodpecker Records. Woodpecker Records is an independent label, much apart from the major-label music industry. Harvey Reid has also left his mark on the acoustic music world in other ways. He is responsibile for most of what is known about the partial capo, as well as developing all of the popular partial capo configurations in use today, which include the Esus. He was the first to record and publish music for partial capo. In 1980 he co-founded the Third Hand Capo Company. Another feat was when in 1980 he wrote the first college textbook for folk guitar. The book was titled Modern Folk Guitar and published by Random House, still in print with McGraw-Hill.
Harvey Reid was responsible for convincing Fishman Transducers on the development of the Acoustic Blender amplification system. He worked on the design team, and even wrote the instructions for it. He may have been the first acoustic independent musician to make a CD, and certainly was among the first to make DAT recordings, and helped usher in the new era of direct-to-digital recordings with a series of articles he wrote for acoustic-music magazines. Reid also was the first person to endorse Taylor Guitars, and began doing promotion for them in 1983 when they had only four employees. Harvey Reid has become an excellent role model for a large number of young, independent musicians who want to pursue their music outside of the so called "music industry." Harvey Reid takes pride on being independent, and views himself as a modern embodiment of the ancient minstrels. Many a listener finds elements of the traditional troubadour, modern poet songwriter, American back-porch picker, classical virtuoso, and some may even find a good bit of Will Rogers-style dry humor and satire included in the package. Harvey Reid's playing style includes folk, country, classical, blues, ragtime, rockabilly, Celtic, bluegrass, and popular music influences. He has a vast repertoire of traditional and contemporary songs and his public performances consist mainly of his own compositions along with traditional music, making for a very memorable occasion. ~ Larry Belanger