Dead Cool or Who is Preston Reed?

It’s Saturday morning, seven-ish a.m CST in Minneapolis, MN USA, where yesterday, the city council voted in a major muni wifi initiative (check here for more about that). M. had to split for some early morning bell ringing at the local Vipassana joint. I’m blogging in bed, 12-inch Powerbook on the breakfast tray M. bought me for Christmas. The boy (who generally stays over with grandma and grandpa either Friday or Saturday) is sleeping next to me so I have this time for the blog before we move on to something bionicle. I’m listening to Preston Reed, a guitarist extraordinaire, who lives somewhere in the British Isles. Catch some of his tunes here.

Before I woke up this morning, I had never heard of Preston Reed. I wanted to catch up on Hugh Macleod’s Gaping Void posts and the first post was Preston Reed is Bogging (sic). I read the current post, read a previous post on Reed, listened to three of Reed’s compositions, found another young guitarist heavily influenced by Reed, and then fell to writing my own post about the whole mess.

Reed is a known quantity as a guitarist even though I had never heard of him. He is more acoustic than electric and adds percussion to the mix — pounding on the guitar and/or strings in various creative ways as he strums and picks. You can file this as jazz but there are echoes and tones of other genres: blues, rock, and classical come to mind.

He was on a major label at one time but decided to go indie and market himself by touring and distributing over the Net. He and Hugh Macleod are friends and Mr. Macleod Hugh told Reed “Blog, Preston” and so he is.

(I’m going to the familiar “Hugh” in referring to Hugh Macleod here although I’ve never met the man. Using “Macleod” seems to journalistic and the NY Times convention of “Mr. Macleod” just started sounding dumb. I’m at least familiar in regularly reading his blog and
having discussed him here before.)

Preston Reed is a microbrand and Hugh is all about promoting global microbrands via the Net (and blogs specifically). His is one variation of my dream job, living in “a small cottage in the English boonies” and working globally consulting blogging and marketing for several interesting microbrands (a Saville Row tailor and a South African Winery to name two – read his blog to see what it’s all about). (Personally, I’d choose a cabin north of Duluth, Minnesota.) This is the freedom of the Internet, really, that not only frees us as individuals to work for anyone anywhere but also frees us from spending significant portions of our lives commuting. Maybe not Utopia but certainly a system that lends itself to less stress and is more environmentally friendly.

My dream is to approach this space in some way for myself. But as Hugh says “Keep your day job.” If your dream isn’t strong enough to sustain you as you continue to work at your current employment, then it’s not a big enough dream. I’m lucky to be reasonably happy with my day job and its interface with my technology interests. (I manage the Web technologies for the University of Minnesota Cancer Center.)


Slightly shifing gears, back to some music and specifically Kaki King. I found her when I searched for Reed’s work at iTunes (some of it is there). Terry Gross’s name popped up so I googled “Terry Gross Preston Reed” and somehow ended up with Liane Hansen interviewing “Kaki King: Queen of Acoustic Guitar.” If you like Reed, she’s definitely worth a listen (music and video at the interview site).

And Kaki says this about Reed:

Preston Reed is someone who I followed and really basically ripped off in terms of all this stuff, but he’s generous with his talent. So that’s good.

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