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Kildare > Arts > Guitarist Preston Reed

Preston ReedPreston Reed


Wednesday 18 February
8.00PM (Tickets €13/€10)

BOOKING:045 448333

Those who have witnessed the genius of guitarist Preston Reed live, will know that words do little justice to his jaw-dropping originality, his dazzling technique, beautifully haunting melodies and the driving percussive rhythms he tears out of his instrument.

Drawing on blues, rock, funk and jazz influences among others, Reed waves and melds genres to produce a signature sound that has been likened by critics to Jimi Hendrix for its emotional power and stylistic creativity. Touching your heart, elevating your spirit and dazzling your senses, you are guaranteed an unforgettable experience.

To sample a taste of this gifted musician Preston Reed will be featured on The View, RTE 1, Tuesday 17 th February.

Preston Reed is a guitarist of many parts, so many parts that when he brings them all into play, first-time listeners often find it impossible to believe that they're hearing just the one musician, in real time.

At full tilt, Reed's fingers, thumbs, fists and hands at once suggest a drummer, keyboardist, bassist and several guitarists at work. It's a dizzying, exhilarating phenomenon. A portrait of the acoustic guitar as full on heavy metal band.

But impressions of rock bands – and high speed trains and duelling, pulling tractors – are only one side of Reed. While acknowledging that somewhere inside him there is a screaming electric guitarist pacing like a caged lion, Reed is also a player of deep sensitivity who can compose and play a blues or a ballad with a touch reminiscent of his great jazz piano-playing hero, Bill Evans.

Reed's entry into this guitar odyssey was inauspicious enough his path thereafter largely self-discovered. A few chords learned from his guitar playing father a brief, very brief, flirtation with the ukulele, clandestine practice sessions of his favourite Beatles and stones songs on dad's guitar….and then a too-strict classical guitar teacher led to premature retirement.

At 16, however, Reed heard Jefferson Airplane's rootsy blues offshoot, Hot tuna. His interest was rekindled big time. Acoustic guitar heroes John Fahey and Leo Kottke were studied, their styles absorbed but not imitated and at this point things really begin to get interesting because at 17, Reed , by now precociously proficient played his first live gig, supporting beat poet Allen Ginsberg at the Smithsonian institution.

Just getting on a train from his native Armonk in New York State to Washington was a cool adventure. And it was just the first of many, not least of which was the one which resulted from his signing his first deal with a major record company, MCA, through the auspices of his friend, country singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett. Reed's compositional talents extend to film soundtracks and prestigious commissions for the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, and as well as appearances alongside Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt. His major performances include an historic live satellite broadcast on Turkish National Television in 1997 with renowned sax player and composer Arif Sag.

Since 1979, he has recorded thirteen albums and three videos and charmed audiences on three continents. He continues to tour with the same hunger and relish that informs his guitar playing and he gives regular workshops where he passes on the techniques he has developed for extending the acoustic guitar's possibilities. The secret, he says, is to relax and let the guitar patterns run by themselves. Which explains how at full tilt he may sound like a full on heavy metal band but he still won't have broken sweat.

For further information please contact or Gráinne on 045 448314/5, or by e-mail at


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