WILLIAMSBURG — “Tunes in Town” is an occasional series that will catch up with some of the local musical talents that call Hampton Roads home.
Mike Reed remembers his dad always having a guitar lying somewhere around the house. The elder Reed had picked up the instrument from his mother, a banjo player. It was only a matter of time before Mike got his turn.
“I was probably about 7 years old when I picked up a guitar and tried to play it. It was extremely frustrating to see how good my dad was. I stuck to it and got serious about it when I was in my teens,” Reed recalls.
Soon, Reed and some high school buddies started a garage band that mostly played covers. When the group went their separate ways, Reed stuck to music.
“Music just did something to me inside. Music has been something that has grabbed me and not let me go, even though there’s been times over my life where I’ve put the guitar down for a year or two. It’s like a good book or a good movie that you just never want to get to the end of,” Reed said.
Reed primarily plays covers, but also plays lead guitar for a local band, The Mullins Sisters. His genres range from country to bluegrass, classic rock, folk, crooners, and more. However, he said he draws a lot of inspiration from The Beatles.
“When I started getting serious about guitar, I loved The Beatles. If I’m just by myself, sitting around the house, I love playing around with the blues and bluegrass music. When I go out and do solo, I really think I have something for everybody,” Reed said.
Growing up around music, Reed knows the power that it plays in life.
“Communicating with people through music, you really have the power to make someone laugh, remember something that’s dear to them, make them cry. There is a whole range of emotions that music can evoke,” Reed said.
Growing up, Reed was the shy and quiet kid. It’s due in part to music that Reed has come out of his shell.
“It’s very hard to get in front of a group of people and put yourself out there. It’s probably worse than public speaking in a way. With music, you could get up there and bomb and it really can set you back. I’ve had some gigs where the audience isn’t really into it, and I know it’s not me, but you have to just keep going,” Reed said.
Among other important things that music has taught him, Reed said being friendly is high on that list.
Music is truly Reed’s passion, and while his road to being a musician had its moments, it’s something that he wouldn’t trade for the world.
“Being a musician, people think it’s not a real job, but it really is. You have your ups and downs. You have days where you feel like you aren’t going to go anywhere, but it’s like I said before, it’s like a good book that you can’t put down that has no ending. It’s a lot of practice, it’s a lot of dedication, music has its peaks and valleys,” Reed said.
Among the dreams, Reed has two venues that would be ultimate playing spots.
“I’d love to play at the Grand Ole Opry or the Ryman Auditorium. That’s the Holy Grail for me as a musician and the type of music that I play. There is so much history and so many people have crossed those stages, those places give me chills,” Reed said.
Ultimately, Reed is all about the music and wants to share it with those who need to hear it.
“I’m not trying to be the guy who is selling out loads of venues. I want to be the guy who plays the intimate shows. I love the small venues where the people who come really appreciate the music that goes on,” Reed said.
For more information on Reed, follow him on Facebook.