Singing the praises of his hometown

Preston Reed with his brand new signature baritone acoustic by Bailey Guitars in Maybole.
Preston Reed with his brand new signature baritone acoustic by Bailey Guitars in Maybole.

GUITARIST Preston Reed will be singing the praises of Girvan as he embarks on a month long tour of the United States.

The innovative composer and guitarist, who moved to the town 10 years ago, says he loves living in Girvan and will be doing his bit to promote the town when he tours the States.

Preston said: “I love it in Girvan, it’s a gorgeous place. Whenever I’m here you’ll see me riding my bike around the town, and I’ve also got into photography, taking pictures mostly of Girvan and putting it on my blog.

“I’ll be doing my bit to promote Girvan, it’s a gorgeous place that needs and deserves more tourism. It’s an awesome place and I love it.

“Dare I say that Girvan suffers from some sort of low self-esteem. There needs to be a lot more positive information coming out about what a fantastic place it is so that people can come here and discover it for themselves. Girvan deserves it.”

At the moment Preston is completing some dates in England before heading for the US with a first date in Portland, Oregon with the American shows including some brand new material.

“I’ll be performing some new music that I’ll be recording at the end of the year for an album coming out in early 2012.

“I’m also writing new stuff so that by the time December comes I’ll be ready to record.

“This record will be a return to the kind of record I was making in the late 90s which was all acoustic guitar. This will be all steel-string acoustic with plenty of my integrated percusive style.”

Reed has virtually reinvented how the acoustic guitar is played. Reed practices a flamboyant self-invented style, characterized by percussive techniques and simultaneous rhythm and melody lines that dance and ricochet around each other, giving his music a level of excitement that is unparalleled among today’s guitarists.

First-time listeners find it impossible to believe that they’re hearing just the one musician, in real time. Reed attacks the entire instrument in a never-ending search for the orchestra he knows is lurking inside. At full tilt, his fingers, thumbs, fists and hands at once suggest a drummer, keyboardist, bassist and several guitarists at work.

“The acoustic guitar makes fantastic drum sounds,” continued Preston, “and I thought, would it be possible to play guitar and drums at the same time? There’s some sort of inventor inside me, so I asked myself what would happen if I started with the drum pattern and negotiated the guitar playing into the drumbeat. So the guitar is being treated more like a sound platform. It was a composing experiment, ultimately I’m a composer of music.”

Preston’s next Scottish date is at the Bute International Guitar Festival on September 18 where he hopes to see some of his fellow townsfolk in attendance.

But one thing that is making him happy just now is an innovative deal with a global shipping company, GAC, which is sponsoring his latest tour.

Preston is also using a new guitar specially built for him by Maybole guitar maker Mark Bailey of Bailey Guitars.

Reed’s compositional talents extend to film soundtracks and prestigious commissions for the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, and as well as appearances alongside Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt his performances include a live satellite broadcast on Turkish television with renowned saz player and composer Arif Sag which reached 120 million in 17 countries.