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Steel Drivin' Man

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Album Review

After releasing 1989's fully instrumental Solo Guitar Sketchbook, few would have imagined Harvey Reid releasing Steel Drivin' Man, an album focused on traditional material. But Reid's interests, while remaining acoustic, cut a wide swath. Steel Drivin' Man features 19 pieces, both instrumentals and ballads, performed by Reid without guest accompaniment. "Blind Fiddler" is an effective, though depressing, story song concerning the fate of a miner blinded in an accident. Reid's old-time playing on the six-string banjo, and somber vocal, present a devastating delivery. The six-string banjo is also used to set forth a stark, old-time, instrumental version of "the Cuckoo." "Streets of Laredo," sung with autoharp accompaniment, is particularly effective, as is "Duncan & Brady," a joyful blues romp about a bartender killing a sheriff. Even at his most traditional, Reid is ever ready with his bag full of open tunings, capos, and other guitar trickery. He also utilizes a variety of instruments, including, 12-string guitar, slide guitar, and dobro, to keep the arrangements fresh. On certain cuts, like the instrumental "Great Speckled Bird/Wildwood Flower," Reid surprises the listener by playing autoharp on material usually associated with the guitar. He plays guitar on several other pieces without vocals, including a lovely version of "Red River Valley." Reid wanted to expose a new generation to the great traditional material on Steel Drivin' Man, and he has presented this material well. He sings more than he has on previous albums, and his vocals are well suited for these ballads. Steel Drivin' Man should please Reid fans, and offer a good starting place to learn about traditional ballads. ~ Ronnie Lankford, Jr., Rovi


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

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...
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Steel Drivin' Man, Harvey Reid
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