There’s nothing wrong with trying out new foods, but sometimes the most satisfaction can be found in down home comfort foods. Reed Turchi has spent plenty of time trying out new kinds of music – often with positive results – but time and time again he is drawn back to the music that brings him the most joy: Mississippi blues. The North Carolina musician fell in love with the Hill Country Blues of artists like Mississippi Fred McDowell, R. L. Burnside, and Junior Kimbrough, and has been playing it for years now. Even though he wasn’t raised in the North Mississippi region, Turchi is a kindred spirit of this music and a worthy torchbearer.
Turchi’s devotion to Hill Country Blues was the subject of his 2016 album Tallahatchie, a collection of well-chosen covers played raw and simple, with Turchi relying simply on his own vocal growl, slide, acoustic guitar, and a wooden chair on a wooden floor. Before he embarks on a solo tour, which kicks off this Wednesday, April 5th at Crooked Tooth Brewery in Tucson, AZ, Turchi captured video of himself performing the songs on Tallahatchie. Today we’re excited to premiere one of those videos right here on Glide Magazine. Performing a medley of the staples “Bollweevil/Get Back Train”, the video captures Turchi in his element as a slinger of the blues – a style of blues that I should add is all too overlooked.
Reflecting on the songs and performance, Turchi has this to say:
I cling to the unfashionable belief that time and concentration can lead to transcendence, as the river slowly smooths the stone. Drowning in the dopamine sea of instant-addiction and infinite distractions, this music, Hill Country Clues, refreshes me with the clarity of its elements. This song, and this whole album of mine (‘Tallahatchie’) are dedicated to these constraints – music built around a mono-chordal root-note drone, melody intertwined, the thumb keeping the rhythm, the index finger or the ring-finger-slide floating around and above.
In art and in life it is easy to lose ourselves in complications – whether it take the form of obsessing over the oscillating decay rate on the newest pseudo-retro delay guitar pedal, or scrolling endlessly through the comments section of yet another breaking-news attention-snatching headline.
Fearing my own descent into a form of that madness, I turned back to this music that first entranced me and pulled me towards guitar, and sought to grow by digging deeper into these roots, rather than chasing whatever’s next, whatever hat is hip this month. Recording and performing solo has made me a better musician, and I hope that staying alert to these threats will make me a better listener and human.
Does this seem grandiose? Yes. But if our music, our art, is of true value, what better means to reach towards such ideals?
I’m going home on the morning train…
Reed Turchi kicks off his tour this Wednesday, April 5th at Crooked Tooth Brewery in Tucson, AZ. For a full list of dates and plenty more tunes visit reedturchi.com.