If Rock n Roll is looking for a revival, it just might find its savior in Generation Z’s Reed Ferguson from Atlanta, Georgia. A fusion of various influences puts Reed decidedly in a space all her own. You could call it Neoteric Rock. Her latest CD, an original 5 song EP entitled Magic Eye is evidence of this emerging genre. And it would be a mistake to enter into Reed’s world with expectations, because she is anything but predictable. Her instrumentation, melodies and lyrics defy categorization. It’s no wonder notables in the industry say Reed’s writing style is on the path to being “prolific” and perhaps this is what her songwriting idols Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and Robert Plant looked like at 18.
With a plethora of influences, from R&B and gospel to Classic Rock and Blues, her original music comes to vibrant life on her latest 5-song EP, Magic Eye…all by Reed’s perfect design. Bringing together musicians with different experiences was imperative to Reed in order to achieve her vision for Magic Eye. Drummer D’Andre’ Thigpin has an R&B and gospel background. Bass player Preston Shewbridge, a self-professed John Mayer fiend, comes from a progressive rock background. And Reed is a lover of all things blues and classic rock, which is why she brought in lead guitarist Barry Richman who has played with the likes of Eric Clapton, Allman Brothers, Les Paul and many others. His Classic, and sometimes Santana-like, style brought the “Amen” to this revival. Reed will attest to that, “I think the more you listen to, the more you just absorb. Whether, it’s a new riff, or their style, every time you listen to a new artist or band, you pick something up from them…a little inspiration.”
And “inspired” she is! With a real maturity and deep understanding of the human condition, Reed’s lyrics articulate best what her generation is all about. There is an unusual, thoughtful depth to her lyrical content, with subjects ranging from pop culture’s sexualization of women to the dead end street that is drug abuse. “I tend to really work hard on lyrics. Every time I sit down to write a song, I swear to Bob Dylan that this will not be some crappy cheesy pop song. This will mean something to people.”
Magic Eye (EP) was fully funded by fans on Kickstarter.
–The title song was inspired by the “Magic Eye” paintings of the 90’s, which on the surface show an intricate design, but by soft focusing your eyes another image pops out. Reed thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could see PEOPLE that way?” In other words, what if we could see people beyond the surface for what they really are.
–“Keep To Yourself” is Reed’s take on feminism, derived from her frustration with the Hollywood portrayal of women and those who buy into it by trying to emulate the magazine covers.
— “The Burnout Knew Better” was inspired from a Youtube video of so called “cool” kids at Coachella. Perturbed with audiences who don’t really know what the music is about, Reed wrote this tune as a riddle, and if you know who “the Burnout” is, you likely don’t fall into that category.
And then there are songs like ‘He Thinks It’s Magic” and “Grim Reaper” (reminiscent of early Green Day), two songs that describe the dead end street that is drugs.
Even the album art, designed by Panamanian artist Jaime Guillen and graphics designer Kristy Strait, harkens back to the 60’s with a psychedelic feel and rawness that says the music is the star of this album.
Reed’s vocals are delightfully different as well. They are neither the raspy delivery one would expect of Rock n Roll nor the Colbie Caillet-esque restrained vocals of current female pop vocalists. Instead, they have a sweet, soulful, “airy” quality….a uniqueness that seems to say “Rockers come in all shapes and sizes and I’m proof!”
So set up your tent and pull up a chair for this rock revival. A rebirth is happening. Reed will tell you that anyone “can write a clever line” or create a catchy tune, but “The trick is actually telling a story, creating a world inside your song.” And it’s there, inside the nuances of her songs on Magic Eye, that Reed defines a new generation of Rock.
Magic Eye will be released in November.
See Reed Ferguson at Smiths Olde Bar on November 21st at 9:45pm. Tickets available at http://www.smithsoldebar.com/