The Presley Sessions
"Prepare to be surprised"
- Vancouver Province
"A solo, handcrafted effort, with the honey-sweet crooner...(and the) ladies swooned" - Globe & Mail
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A 50s era tribute to Elvis!
Not to be confused with an impersonator, Reid lends his own compelling voice to this tender tribute, singing songs originally recorded in the late 1950s back when Elvis still had a last name. With Reid singing harmonies and playing each instrument himself, this disc has a whole lot of sugar and soul. A long time fan of the King, especially early and lesser known recordings such as ‘Is It So Strange’, Reid also enjoys performing the hits like ‘One Night’ and ‘Any Way You Want Me’ when ever the spirit calls -and it does. Inspired vocal performances coupled with Reid’s spirited guitar playing make this a musical love letter that will light up the hearts of Presley (and Jamieson) fans everywhere.
Produced by Reid Jamieson. Mastered by John Gilbert. Artwork by Joanne Galligan. Artwork and photo by Carolyn Victoria Mill. Most lead vocals and first guitar recorded live and in one take, at home, by Reid Jamieson on March 14th, 2007 on the occasion of Carolyn Victoria Mill's birthday. Additional songs, instruments & background vocals recorded by Reid on March 21st, 2007. Reid's first mandolin attempt can be found on Tomorrow Night, and Reid's first upright bass moves courtesy of Rufus Stewart, thanks for the loaner! Note that a djembe and pine bough were all that was used in lieu of a drum kit. All songs inspired by Elvis Aaron Presley's unforgettable renditions. Thank you to the Presley family for tolerating this humble tribute. For CVM (aka 'the Colonel'), with love. Thank you, thank you very much. This one also goes out to Mumsy, Pappy & Uncle Garry, Howie & Vi, Kelly & Andre, Molly & Rob, Rhonda Batson, Kerry Doole, John Sheard, Wes Wraggett, Tracy Pomeroy, Laurie & Patricia Brooke (rest in peace little girl). And to our good pals at Banbury Park: James Greenspan, Steven Silverberg & Sarah Duffy, thank you for your hard work & faith.
AUGUST 2007 ~ by Kerry Doole
The King is dead, but he’s not forgotten. Certainly not by Reid Jamieson. This Victoria-based (now Vancouver) singer/songwriter is a life-long Elvis fan, and that deep devotion has now spawned a loving and highly loveable new tribute disc, The Presley Sessions.
This collection of songs originally recorded by Presley in the late ‘50s and now brought to vibrant new life is literally a labour of love. It was conceived without any commercial imperative, and that spontaneous spirit infuses every note here. The Presley Sessions initially took shape as a birthday gift for Reid’s lover/muse/manager, Carolyn V. Mill, this past March. A sure way to the heart of this fellow Elvis fan. Mill, in fact, is affectionately nicknamed ‘the Colonel’ after Presley’s rambunctious and rather opportunistic manager, and the record initially sported the title For The Colonel, with Love.
“I woke up on her birthday and had a little inkling, ‘I should record a song,’” recalls Reid, astutely realizing this was a sure way to the heart of a fellow Elvis fan. “I had trouble deciding on just one, as there are so many I love, so I thought ‘well I’ll just set up my recorder here at home and do a few, with guitar and vocal. Don’t try a second take, just go for it.’ Eight songs came, then I thought, ‘what the heck? I have a bass here, let’s add that, then some backing vocals. I have the djembe and pine needles here, let’s add a little snare.’”The results were so pleasing that Reid added another four songs a week later, intending to come up with an album-length disc he could also give as a gift to family and friends.
They responded with instant enthusiasm, and a copy then found its way to the discerning ear of James Greenspan, head of Banbury Park Records, and a keen admirer of Jamieson’s original work. “He jumped all over it, saying ‘I love this, I want to put it out,’” says Reid. The happy outcome of this serendipity is that The Presley Sessions will become commercially available, with Jamieson playing select dates in Toronto and Victoria to support the release.
He refused to touch up the original recordings, so the intimate living-room vibe of the sessions remains intact. “I can listen to it still and hear the enthusiasm and love in my voice. It’s so nice to have and to share that,” he stresses.The disc should be viewed as sincere homage, not attempted mimicry. Jamieson’s oh so sweet and pure voice works in a higher register than that of The King. “You want to use your own voice. It was just a matter of choosing the right key and having fun with it.” he explains.“I hope that anyone who takes the time to listen to it will feel an infectious vibe. “To me, Elvis makes people happy. If someone wants to put me down for trying to move that happiness around, well, I’m not going to worry about it too much!”
Presley’s songs are so imprinted in Jamieson’s musical DNA, little genetic research was required to come up with the tunes on The Presley Sessions. In fact, Reid didn’t even need to hear them again before starting work. “Recording them seemed so effortless because they were so inside my head,” he says. Attribute this deep knowledge and love to Jamieson family gatherings. “I don’t remember a time before these songs. He’s always been there for me,” observes Reid. “The biggest Elvis influence on me growing up was the annual family get-togethers at my aunt Carole’s house. She had a giant Elvis songbook, with music for the piano of virtually every song. Most of my family can play piano, so they’d play the chords and we’d all sing along.” It was at just one such gathering that a shy and nervous young Jamieson first sang in front of anybody. “That was a really formative moment. I know my life would be different if that side of the family was not so musical.”
Reid has a happy history with many of the songs on The Presley Sessions. He learned the lesser-known “Is It So Strange” at age 13, and sang “One Night With You” at the legendary annual Elvis Karaoke nights at Toronto’s famed Horseshoe Tavern. Song selection for the record was dictated by the occasion of its genesis. “I chose hopeful love songs, because this was an album for Carolyn and my love for her.” Jamieson astutely included songs that weren’t huge hits for Elvis. “I intentionally wanted to find songs that still had a bit of freshness to them,” he explains. Mission accomplished.
The Presley Sessions establishes Reid Jamieson as a gifted interpreter of songs, but word of his singular talent as a songwriter has been spreading fast. After paying his rock dues in Toronto band Alvy, he launched his solo career with 2001’s debut, Cowlick Bravado. 2003’s acoustic EP The Noise In My Chest was followed by 2004’s alt-country triumph, The Unavoidable Truth, produced by Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers). It notched rave reviews internationally, while regular appearances on CBC’s highly popular Vinyl Café have showcased Reid’s charm as a live performer. A prolific writer, Jamieson is now sifting through the potential gems that will surface on a highly-anticipated new disc of original material.
That leaves you time for a happy immersion in The Presley Sessions.