Greetings once again, music lovers! Now that we’re well into November, it would be nice if we could travel someplace warm. Well, I have good news for you: we’re headed out to the southwestern United States, where we will be getting to know singer and multi-instrumentalist Alison Reynolds!
Alison has been making music pretty much her entire life. More recently, she’s released 6 albums over the last 12 years, including 4 CDs of all-original music. Currently Alison’s been doing a lot of online shows and recording new material. In 2017 she was nominated for Best Americana Song in the New Mexico Music Awards.
Alison Reynolds describes her music as “very eclectic but, I suppose my dominant style and genre is Americana (that’s the genre you use when you can’t really fit yourself into a genre 🙂 ). The cover songs I do range from John Fogarty to Eddie Vedder, Stevie Nicks to early Bob Dylan. My song writing ranges from very folky to harder hitting country/rock/blues.”
Alison also has a great many musical influences. While in high school, she was “heavily influenced by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, etc.. Then in the 70’s, Bonnie Raitt was one of my favorites along with bands like The Doors, Crosby, Stills, Nash and, Young, Django Reinhardt, Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens and so many more! Got to see a lot of them live while I lived in Toronto.”
(Wait, Toronto? I thought we were in the American Southwest!)
Well, you know that old country song, “I’ve Been Everywhere?”
Well, that pretty much describes Alison. She’s lived in Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and yes, Canada! But now Alison and her husband reside in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she enjoys the rugged, picturesque mountains. She does confess that she enjoyed living in Flagstaff (Arizona) and Toronto the most. As she recalls: “I lived in Toronto in the 70’s during the peak of the coffeehouse music era. It was a very accessible city; you didn’t need a car to get around and there was a ton of live music happening!”
(That does sound pretty cool 😀)
In The Beginning…
Alison’s primary instrument is actually the cello, interestingly enough, which she began playing in 4th grade. Actually she ended up majoring in cello performance in college! She credits her college teacher as having the biggest influence on her career. Prior to college, Alison taught herself baritone ukulele and guitar. Nowadays she also plays mandolin and a little bit of flute.
Alison told me: “I think I’ve always known that I’d be a professional musician. From the time I started playing baritone ukulele I knew I’d be playing for a long time. Started playing professionally with my first music partner, Pat Watson pretty much right out of High School. I have been playing instruments for over 50 years (yes, I am old!) Professionally, I’ve played in many different bands off and on for around 45 years. . . and still counting!“
Alison Reynolds has had quite the memorable musical journey up to this point. As she recounts: “The very first album I released was in the 70’s with a band called Mirth, entitled “First Borne”. That was in Canada. When I returned to the states in the early 80’s, I played with several bands but, ended up taking a break from music to raise my children. I returned to music around 12 years ago and have since recorded 6 albums. One, called “Dreaming” was with my cello quartet, La Cella Bella. It has some covers and several original pieces on it. We also put out a Christmas Cd called “Christmas and other Joyful Tunes”. After the quartet fizzled out, I went solo and started singing and writing songs again and have put out 4 Cd’s of original music and 1 of cover songs.”
“I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t do music!” – Alison Reynolds
Alison has also done quite a bit of touring. Earlier I mentioned her first musical partner Pat Watson. Alison and Pat connected up with a guy named David James Bowen and that’s how their band Mirth (also mentioned above) got started. Alison goes on to say: “We grew to a 5-piece band and toured constantly all through Ontario, Quebec and Halifax. At one point I gave up my apartment, put my things in storage and just toured, staying with friends when we had the odd time off! Those were in my much younger days and the only real downside was being a single female on the road all the time.”
Alison also adds: “The absolute coolest gig I ever had was playing at the Ottawa Opera House with my first music partner. We opened for Gino Vanelli and played to a packed house of around 3,000 people!” Alison also considers this experience to be the highlight of her career so far.
Fun Times For Alison Reynolds
Alison provided me with a couple anecdotes from her Canadian touring days that I thought were worth sharing:
“The most embarrassing moment for me was when my band, Mirth, was playing at a venue in Toronto. We had taken a break and a fellow came up to me and asked if he could play my cello. I’m not really keen on having someone I don’t know play my instrument so I told him no, politely of course! He sat down and a friend came up to me and said, “do you know who that was?” uhm, “no”, she said that’s one of the cellists in Electric Light Orchestra!” they had played a concert down the street from where we were playing. Totally embarrassed, I went up to him and fell all over myself apologizing and asked him to PLEASE play my cello! He was very nice and understanding and did play a bit!”
She also recalled one other particularly funny moment: “The funniest thing that ever happened was when Pat and I played at low to medium security prisons in Canada. They were great gigs; the inmates were very polite and appreciative. Pat and I played a variety of instruments and usually started off with both of us playing guitar and finally moving to our piano/cello songs. At one prison (all men, obviously) I sat down to play cello and from the back of the auditorium came a voice saying, “Man, I wish I was a cello!” the whole place cracked up and I’m sure my face turned a very dark red!”
Alison has 2 grown children, one residing in California and the other in Las Cruces. When she isn’t making music, Alison volunteers for a cat rescue and adoption facility. She does admit that “I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t do music!” Alison also enjoys a good black bean burger and a nicely aged Scotch—but not necessarily at the same time. Her favorite movie is The Princess Bride.
Alison has the following words of wisdom for the readers: “The music business has changed so much since I first started so many years ago. I think now, in the cyber age, one MUST be patient and very persistent. Don’t stop, don’t give up, stay the course and you will be rewarded. Fame and fortune are NOT the rewards, rather it’s the satisfaction that you are doing what you love and loving what you do.”
(Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. Right?)