Johnny Reid – “Kicking Stones”

Kicking Stones (Open Road/Universal Canada) 

Johnny Reid (Open Road Recordings/Universal Canada) 

5

Canada has released some of the most interesting country music in the last few years.  However, unless you live there or near the border, you’ve most likely not heard much of it.  One of the most dynamic and versatile artists to appear recently is Johnny Reid.  Originally from Scotland, Reid began stoking the fires of a country music career a decade ago.  After being in Nashville a few years, Reid signed to Canada’s Open Road Recordings.  His first album, “Born To Roll” brought him big star success and even found one hit “You Still Owe Me” get recorded by Canadian band Emerson Drive (it is a recent hit in the States for them as well) and Ty Herndon.   Reid’s sophomore release, “Kicking Stones” has been in rotation in my ipod and stereo for many weeks now and is as good as any album from the states. 

Fans of T. Graham Brown and Joe Cocker should really enjoy the soul/country/rock style employed by Reid.  Even with mandolins and fiddles propelling “Out Of The Blue,”  There’s a distinctly worldly flare to a song that chronicles unexpected happiness.  From the na-na-na-na’s to the pan flutes, there’s a distinct ‘international’ flare to a song that has lyrics that discuss unexpected happiness.  “Love Sweet Love” features a horn section that at times recalls Memphis and other times Motown.  It’s not ‘traditional country’ in any sense but Reid sings the hell out of the song. 

There is often a misconception about a man with deep, whiskey-scarred vocals not being able to sing with range.  Like Joe Cocker, Johnny shows on the beautiful and simple ballad “Thank You.”  Primed to be a wedding anthem, the song has a vibe that’s not unlike “You Raised Me Up.”  It soars and only a real singer with good range can sing a track like this.  Only two songs on the record weren’t co-written by Reid and one of them is his cover of the early 80’s Tom Jones hit “Darlin’.”  Johnny Reid simply knocks the song out of the park.  In fact, it’s a re-defining remake. 

Collin Raye previously recored “What I Did For Love” and where his version came off as ‘busy,’ Reid’s version is rough-around-the edges but with smooth flourishes courtesy of producer/co-writer Brent Maher.  The instrumental breakdown, missing from the Raye version, is simply beautiful with soaring fiddles and accordion and mandolin.   It’s a nicely, done ballad sung with conviction.  Speaking of singing with conviction, Johnny Reid simply knocks the album ending title track out of the park.  “Kicking Stones” is an autobiographical song that chronicles Reid’s life.  The melody features acoustic guitars, b-3, an orchestra and the topper being beautiful bag pipes.  Johnny Reid is a distinctive vocalist who, unlike Cocker and T. Graham Brown, writes most of his material.  “Kicking Stones” is a record from a distinctive artist that deserves to be a star in the USA. 

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6 responses to “Johnny Reid – “Kicking Stones”

  1. I am from the states and recently spent a week in Canada… I heard Johnny Reid on the radio and loved him….. of course we can’t get it here but I am lookin and waitin….

  2. Johnny Ried is a talent which will most likely be ignored by American Radio and T.V.,just as fellow great Canadian Artist Michelle Wright.Johnny is not one to be controlled ,same for Michelle.They won’t play the American game,because they have far too much talent and the American Record Industry hates that in anyone not American.Thier loss.Johnny and Michelle you both are great.I wish you nothing but,success and happiness,on your terms.Bless !!

  3. As a Canadian living in Scotland, I wish Johnny were better know in his home country. He’s such a great singer (aren’t most Scottish singers) and I feel proud of what he’s accomplished. It’s just that when Scots go off to America there’s often a lingering sense of jealousy or betrayal in their wake. Nevermind…..keep the songs coming Johnny….I’m a fan!

  4. For anyone not in Canada interested in getting Johnny’s music, he sells his CDs on his website, johnnyreid.com

  5. I too just discovered Johnny Reid – if you can’t find his releases, they are available on Itunes for download. And you can check out live performances his fans have uploaded to Youtube. He is an exuberant from the heart musician – gets you dancing and lifts you up, with everything from motown horns to a harmonica coming in on Darlin’ that sound more like the skirl of bagpipes…Enjoy!

  6. Dear Mr. Reid;

    It’s so nice to wake up to your voice on the radio! No pun intended! But your songs so inspire me to who I am.
    For the last 6 years I have been doing karaoke wherever I can…Rest you I am just a follower.

    When I was a child of about nine years of age I used to entertain my Mom and Dad’s crowd if they would have people over.. My dream was always to entertain the people singing. It’s not about the money: It’s about how they feel about us as singers.

    I am 49 now and have been entertaining for almost 7 years. I just love it. But the past two summers we have taken on a whole new theme. Karaoke at the Border Cafe’ in St. Stephen, New Brunswick! It started out to raise money for the IWK Children’s hospital and was immediately shut down like we were leaper’s!

    Since then, I have been trying to get a hold of your music in Karaoke just so I can give some inspiration to this town and crowd . They wait for me to sing, Why! Because I have this raspy deep voice and It’s a crowd attractor for some strange reason. Your music is within my range and I can’t find it anywhere. Mr. Reid I don’t care how much you would charge me but I would love to sing your songs for the people for inspiration and just plain enjoyment.. You inspire me to want to sing to the people especially your last song,” Try to change the world One day at a time! ” I want to do that one for the officer that keeps giving the Owner of the Cafe’ fines.

    The reason that they don’t like our karaoke is that we let the handicapped sing too and they just love it! I think that, in our( poor) town the rich live too close to the poor and we are cramping their style! Your song is so true to life. I want to sing your praises Johnny! I know that you are a family man as I am a family woman. But my children have grown and now I want to help others.

    Love you and your music
    Angela M. Finnie

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