5 Questions for ... John Reid, FTC director releases his own album
FAIRFIELD — As producing artistic director of the Fairfield Theatre Co., John Reid is surrounded by all kinds of music as he book bands for Stage One and the Warehouse, along with the Klein Auditorium.
One of the walls in his office is lined with guitars that bear the autographs of performers who have graced the stages at the venue at 70 Sanford St.
Part of Reid’s job for the past year has included shepherding the renovations of unused second-floor into office space, green rooms and rehearsal pods. The project, funded by private donations and a state grant, also restores a pedestrian bridge from Unquowa Road directly to the second floor.
The project is moving closer to completion, Reid said while taking a visitor on a quick tour Monday.
But Reid, who grew up in Mississippi and Virginia, is also himself a musician. Roots musicians from the region were his early teachers, and he studied jazz theory and guitar with the late Emily Remler. He has been playing professionally since the early 1970s.
While living in New York City in the 1990s, Reid performed regularly around East Village and produced and performed in numerous plays for the Roundabout Theatre’s Conservatory and Ensemble Company. At FTC, he has produced and promoted over 1,000 concerts.
Now, he has added a new recording of his own music to the mix, and recently answered some questions about his latest release.
Q: How would you characterize your musical style?
A: I call it hillbilly swing, which is the title of the EP. I grew up in Mississippi and Virginia and my music is heavily influenced by the country and western, blues and jazz I heard around me.
Q: What musicians influence you?
A: It’s a long list. Singers and songwriters include Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Waylon Jennings to name a few. Favorite guitarists include Eddy Lang, Hank Garland, Emily Remler, Django Rhinehart, Charlie Christian, George Benson, BB King and Scotty Moore.
Q: Why did you decide to make a recording, and why now?
A: My friend, Jim Wolf, approached me and said he would like to produce and record some of my songs. Jim is a very talented musician and producer and has recorded and successfully released many of his own songs and albums. It’s been several years since I recorded anything, and it was a great opportunity to collaborate with someone I respect musically.
Q: How hard was it to fit making your own recording in with running the FTC and overseeing the second-floor construction?
A: We worked over a period of several months, one or two evenings a month, a song at a time, so it wasn’t too intense.
Q: If there was one musician who you could get to play with, who would it be and why?
A: Willie Nelson, just because he’s Willie Nelson. One of the greatest songwriters, singers, and guitarists ever.