Hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, traditional country songwriter James Reed quit his day job to pursue a music career right before the pandemic. Although only chasing this dream for a short year and a half, he has an authentic musical storytelling ability that not many others possess. His newest single, “Baby Blue Lies”, is the woeful tale of unwillingly being wrapped around someone’s finger; “Baby blue lies and silver tongue / That don’t apologize after the damage is done,” he sings.
With his refined storytelling ability and strong influences of old school, real deal country, Reed is quickly garnering attention in Kentucky and beyond, and is akin to artists such as Kadie Meadows, Nolan Taylor, Nicholas Jamerson, and Canadian powerhouse Colter Wall.
In his new single (which apparently has seen some recent streaming snafus), as well as his other songs such as “Carolina Reaper” and “Goodbye Mama”, his country folk-blues influence shines, and his soulful baritone voice and lyrical integrity glides over a steady rhythmic guitar, arresting the listener’s attention. Reed exhibits a genuine understanding and appreciation of true country music, and displays it in his music with resounding fashion.
We had the opportunity to chat with Reed about “Baby Blue Lies”, his writing and production process, and much more.
So where did you grow up, and who or what got you into writing and playing music?
I was born in Lexington, KY, and grew up all over Central and Eastern KY. My mother was a really good songwriter IMO. She didn’t do it much, though. I’ve always played with words, and wrote my first song at around 7 or 8.
How would you describe your sound and style to those wondering what you’re all about?
My style is all over the place. I’m writing classic sounding country songs at the moment. Last month it was folk/blues. Sometimes its a desperate sound that I couldn’t put in a genre.
What does a day in the life of James Reed’s songwriting process look like?
A day in the life of my songwriting process is horribly ugly and torturous, that’s why I do it in solitude lol…but as of late, I’ll work my ass off to get the foundation, and then bask in it for days or weeks, and take my time to craft it into a complete song.
So I was hoping you could talk about your new single, “Baby Blue Lies.” What’s the inspiration and influence behind it?
“Baby Blue Lies” is a title I came up with 15 years ago. I rewrote the song probably 10 times. Never did love any of them. So last year I told the idea to my friend Lyssa Culbertson, and she sent some lyrics and just like that… it was what I’ve been looking for for over a decade and a half.
Is it a standalone single or can folks expect to see it on an upcoming EP or LP?
It actually just got removed from all platforms over old label hiccups, but I’ll have it out again soon.
Where was it recorded and who helped produce it?
It was recorded at Steelhouse recording studio in Tennessee, and Jason Evans produced it.
What does success as a musician and songwriter mean to you?
Success as a singer-songwriter for me means that I get to play my music and make ends meet for my children and myself. I’ve barely been doing it for about a year now. It’s been very tough financially, but I see it only getting better. It’s something you have to stick to when the tough gets going, that’s what separates a lot of folks I see that are making it more comfortably now.
What does a dream gig look like for you?
I feel I’ve already accomplished my dream gigs I had in mind in the past 6 months. So I’d have to say a headlining sold out show in any good sized theater or venue, with family, friends and fans in attendance singing every word of my songs.
What might fans expect from James Reed as we inch towards fall and frankly, the rest of the year?
Well, I’m going on a 10-state tour with Karly Driftwood and Lance Rogers starting late October into late November. I’m also looking to get a record out before the end of the year.