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Courtesy Matt Browning
The Floorboards are just one of many acts that will perform Friday and Saturday at Blacksburg's 33rd-annual Steppin' Out street festival.
Courtesy Laura Reed
Thursday, August 1, 2013
Soul singer Laura Reed’s recent career moves are proof that a performer shouldn’t take any gig or any contact for granted.
Reed, who headlines the annual Blacksburg event Steppin’ Out on Saturday, used to be a fixture in Southwest Virginia, playing FloydFest and other venues with her band, Deep Pocket. That act, powered by Reed’s vocals and positive lyrics, was one of FloydFest’s early hit bands.
The band split up a couple of years back, after Reed moved from Asheville, N.C., to Atlanta. She was busy in Atlanta, with a production deal and a lot of studio work, but she felt her career was stagnating.
“About two years ago, I just had this gut feeling I need to leave Atlanta,” Reed said. “Musically, I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do, and I just felt like I needed a change. I had this feeling I need to call Paul.”
The “Paul” in this case was Paul Worley, the Nashville, Tenn.-based producer, guitarist and record industry executive. Worley’s production credits include the Dixie Chicks, a band he discovered, Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry.
Reed met Worley by chance several years back, when she was performing at a wedding in Atlanta — before Reed had even moved there.
“I Hadn’t talked to him in about three years,” she said. “I called him out of the blue. We talked for a couple hours.
“He was in the middle of mixing that record ‘I Need You Now,’ that Lady Antebellum song.
He asked her how soon she could get to Nashville. She drove there the next morning.
“I met with him in the studio. I met with everyone from Lady Antebellum. And I played him my little demo that I had been making in Atlanta since the Deep Pocket days. And he loved it.”
Worley hooked up Reed with another Nashville-based producer, Shannon Sanders, whose credits — India.Arie, Jonny Lang, John Legend, Heather Headley — more closely aligned with Reed’s musical impulses.
“And two years later, we have a record done, and we’re working on putting a tour together,” she said. “It was one of the best decisions I ever made, was to come to Nashville.”
Go to blogs.roanoke.com/cutnscratch for a podcast with Reed, featuring streaming versions of Motown and neo-soul music from her upcoming CD, “The Awakening.”
See the video of the disc’s lead single, “Wake Up,” via youtu.be/TuiXEEUP5b8.
She said that although she has written many songs, she never truly “wrote” a song until she moved to Nashville.
She had always written by herself, but co-wrote everything on “The Awakening” with the Grammy-winning Sanders.
“The music I’m making now, I love,” Reed said. “I feel like it’s a complete reflection of myself.”
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