Friday, June 17, 2011

Johnny Reid


I received this DVD from EMI/Manhatan Records for review.  All opinions are my own.

Have you ever heard of Scottish-born Canadian singer/songwriter Johnny Reid?  Me neither, until I was contacted about reviewing a DVD of one of his live concerts.  Not one to turn down free music, I thought I would give it a go. 

I never really understood the appeal of owning a DVD of a concert.  How many times will you actually watch it?  However, for a review of an artist, it is rather helpful. You get a feel for the musician, their performance skills, and the way they interact with their band.

Mr. Reid obviously loves performing and at one point brought an elderly woman over to the stage and sang to her.  It was sweet, cheesy, but sweet.  If he just had a patriotic medley and a little bit of comedy thrown in, it would be like watching a show in Branson.  That's not a dig, we love Branson.

I do like listening to music by a new artist.  Although, I'm not sure that I can call Johnny Reid a new artist.  He has been on the Canadian scene for over a decade and has 1 Gold and 4 Platinum albums under his belt as well as numerous Juno Awards (the equivalent to the Grammys).  This spring, he crossed the border and made his American debut.
 
Like his fellow Canadian, Bryan Adams, Johnny Reid has a raspy lilt in his voice that adds an extra soulful touch to his music.  It's that raspiness that also lends his sound to the several different types of music that he sang on the DVD - a mix of original songs and standards like "My Girl". 

Johnny is billed as a country artist and he did sing the Kris Kristoferson classic "Help Me Make it Through the Night" on the DVD.  Although his voice suited the song it was that tune that I sort of felt was out of place from the general vibe of the concert.  The overall feel was almost worship-band like.  Do you know what I mean?  That positive, everything's-gonna-be-alright kind of feel; in fact, one song had a gospel choir singing back-up. 

You can hear the Scottish influence in the tracks "Brings Me Home" & "Today I'm Gonna Try and Change the World." 

Johnny has teamed up with the Children's Aid Foundation and has decided to give 100% of the profits made from his teddy bear/lullaby CD combo to their cause (they help abused children through "prevention, enrichment, and education.") 

My favorite song was the last one called "Thank You."  It was a lovely tune with a lovely message.  There is something very sincere about stripping away the flash and the back-up singers and the amplifiers and just having a singer and a piano.  The fact that he chose to sing this song on a little stage island in the middle of the sea of people made it even more intimate.

If you like Bryan Adams and Michael Bolton you will like the sound of Johnny Reid.  If you like artists that "give back" then you'll like Johnny Reid.  If you like positive music then you'll like Johnny Reid. 

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