North Carolina’s Reed Turchi & His Kudzu Choir recorded their latest release, Just a Little More Faith, in a single day. The album is out now exclusively at reedturchi.com.
“Sixteen songs in a day,” Reed says of the recording process. “We were all in the same room,” he continues — no overdubs, no studio trickery. And recording in this roughly hewn, down-to-earth fashion, Turchi says, “forces everyone to play together.”
The instruments can’t overpower the singers, and the singers — comprised of Turchi’s thirsty tenor alongside gospel-style female voices — must listen closely to one another.
“Aesthetically that was the goal,” he says. “What can we do just playing together? It was really refreshing to make a record that way.”
Faith is a sparse, raw blend of country blues, soul music, gospel and country, managing to feel both vintage and forward thinking. “It’s not an attempt to be revivalist,” Turchi says, calling his sound “future blues.”
Turchi says blues is the music he first fell in love with, but he’s quick to add, “I’m not a purist.” Turchi tells me his mom is a classical musician, and he remembers discovering old time boogie-woogie piano music as a kid, an influence heard on Faith piano instrumental “Wallerin’.”
Elsewhere on Faith, “Honey Honey” is a Lighting Hopkins-style, jump blues workout. Turchi sings in a strangled yelp: “Spend your weekends / Staring at your telephone / If you got so many friends / Why you sitting here alone?” A wiry slide-guitar interlude then cuts the tension, bringing real heat and grease to the gravelly groove.
Cell phones and social media aren’t exactly the my-lover-done-me-wrong subjects most associated with blues music, and it’s a welcome update to the formula. “I talk about things that matter in the moment,” Turchi says.
Despite recording Faith with His Kudzu Choir, Turchi’s currently on the road alone, and he’s looking forward to returning to Sam Bond’s, one of his favorite bars. “The strength of solo shows,” Turchi says, “is being able to experiment. It keeps me with a fresh ear to the songs.”
Reed Turchi plays with Eugene’s “sarcastic jazz” quartet Humble George and Portland bluegrass, Latin and jazz duo Bigfoot Mojo 9:30 pm Saturday, May 12, at Sam Bond’s Garage; 21-plus, FREE.