As low-down and lonesome as the Blues may be, listening to the song—or playing it—is nevertheless cathartic, hard-won resilience washes away despair. The despair isn’t entirely removed, however; rather, like a long-handled broom, it is left leaning in the corner. And, of course, the work of composing new Blues music, is also an act of research and preservation. As with any folk tradition, one must reach back to the deepest roots. There one finds not singularity, but rich variety, styles and tunings and riffs that have blended together to be, ultimately, inseparable. And, yet, when the right player and the right voice perform the right songs, the result is wholly singular. That is how one working within a tradition makes an original contribution. And that is how I hear this fine record. Reed Turchi has delivered an original, unvarnished interpretation of a long musical tradition. Tallahatchie taps the sacred and profane roots behind it to make those mysterious, conflicted energies vital all over again. Such renewal keeps the art alive, and this record is as alive as a whippoorwill singing from a midnight hillside.
After seven years and as many albums, Tallahatchie finds Reed Turchi returning to the music that lead him to play guitar. Stripped of studio tricks, these songs are presented simply: a slide, a voice, an acoustic guitar, a wooden chair on a wooden floor. Tallahatchie is named after the river running through North Mississippi, homeland of Hill Country Blues, and is an homage to that genre and its patriarchs (RL Burnside, Fred McDowell, Otha Turner). Not just a collection of covers, Tallahatchie transcends, as Turchi’s intimate singing, unmistakable slide, and hypnotic rhythms are clearly his own, refreshingly direct and deeply personal.
"Turchi proves to be an old soul...we feel like we are sitting right there in some lonely cabin deep amongst the pines and the kudzu sipping whiskey and listening to him play his heart out." -- Neil Ferguson, Glide Magazine
"Acoustic gritty blues tunes full of emotion." -- Daytrotter
“(Tallahatchie) strips it bare to an honest bone - just man and guitar. You know the songs, and the meditative simplicity is just what we need to grasp something we think we know; a familiar reality in this time of cultural and political uncertainty. – Greg Vandy, KEXP
“Tallahatchie certainly has that inward-looking contemplative mood about it. The record has a "Robert Johnson in a boarding-house with a guitar, a mic and a recording machine" ambiance." -- Bill Kopp, Asheville Mountain XPress
"Turchi returns to his roots, and effects a brilliant strategy. DeStijl in design, the album is a work of minimalism...Turchi’s great talent for absorbing, interpreting, and continuing the talents of Sonny Boy Williamson, and Mississippi Fred McDowell (“Write Me A Few Lines”), and even Charley Patton (“Mississippi Boll Weevil”) make this album a relaxing, raw, cathartic respite, free from the conformity of a full band." -- Sean Jewell, American Standard Time
"...delivered by Turchi's voice and his slide guitar with the class and the charisma of a perfect Blues Troubadour. Tallahatchie is an album that goes beyond the pure and simple love for the traditions of the Hill Country Blues. It's the most sincere labour of love possible of a musician that has never forgotten where his musical heart belongs to and always will." - Gio Pilato, Bluebird Reviews
"Here are dark, plunging canyons of natural reverb, resounding and haunting rail-sounds, sky-punching stops, vocals rattling like winter trees. On each song of Tallahatchie Reed Turchi plays and sings in full command – and in fullness of humility – among the blues storytellers whose music he has absorbed down to his marrow: Fred McDowell, North Mississippi Allstars, Furry Lewis, Elmore James, Mississippi John Hurt. His guitar and voice are saturated with that kerosene. He has made new fire. May it spread wide and far." - Kevin McIlvoy
"Tallahatchie is a brilliant new selection of recordings by Reed Turchi. Inspired by his mentors, North Mississippi performers RL Burnside, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Otha Turner, Turchi creates an intimate homage to their music. His clean, sweet sounds of acoustic blues resonate with the heart and introduce an exciting new chapter in his impressive musical career." - William Ferris
“This is why they call it the dirty south.” - American Songwriter
“If Beck, Steve Earle, and T-Rex got together for a jam.” - Maximum Volume Music
“Vital, live, and essential.” Living Blues Magazine
"Beyond traditional genre constraints…a sound that is pushing the boundaries of Hill Country tradition." - The Oxford American
"...like ZZ Top fuzz choked out by weeds, Dr. John-like hoodoo vocals over a swampy, psychedelic guitar." -Indy Weekly
Raised in the Swannanoa Valley outside of Asheville, North Carolina, Reed Turchi grew up playing piano, focusing on boogie woogie and New Orleans styles before becoming infatuated with slide guitar. While learning Hill Country Blues (RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Mississippi Fred McDowell) firsthand in North Mississippi, he founded his blues-rock trio “TURCHI,” which released its debut album Road Ends in Water in 2012. Called "everything a blues fan could want" (LA Examiner), the album featured guest Luther Dickinson on three tracks.
During a series of national tours, TURCHI released Live in Lafayette in early 2013, and exploded on the blues-rock scene, notably earning high praise from Living Blues Magazine ("for all of their communion with the past, TURCHI sounds vital, alive, and essential"), landing on the cover of Buscadero (Italy) and being showcased in a five-page feature in Il Blues Magazine (Italy). At that point, TURCHI’s national touring grew to include Europe, highlighted with a headlining spot at Mojo Festival (Rome) in June 2014 after the release of Can’t Bury Your Past, which expanded the trio with keyboards/organ (Anthony Farrell) and saxophone (Art Edmaiston).
Also in 2014, stemming from his tours in Italy, Reed began collaborating with renowned Italian guitarist Adriano Viterbini, leading to Scrapyard, an intimate, minimal, duo-guitar album recorded in Memphis and in Rome. Called "a marvelous example of talent and simplicity" (Bluebird Reviews, UK), the album earned a editor’s feature from iTunes ("blues chemistry overflowing with earthy delta slide and dark pulsing electric guitar"), and a spot on Tidal’s “editor’s playlist.”
After touring in the US and Europe behind “Scrapyard,” and continuing his search for new sounds, Reed moved from Western North Carolina to Memphis, where he immersed himself in the trademark grooves of soul and blues of the region.. It was a time of personal and musical change, leading Reed to disband TURCHI with the release of sendoff EP We Spoke in Song, recorded at an old JC Penney in Richmond VA amidst their final performances in October 2014.
Introduced to Tuareg music (Tinariwen, Bombino, Terakaft) by Adriano Viterbini during the Scrapyard touring, Reed began to write songs with a new sound in mind, combining influences ranging from Stax to Saharan blues, and started recording at Ardent Studios in April 2015. The result, Speaking in Shadows, was released in March 2016 on Devil Down Records and immediately recognized as a new and successful step, with Pop Matters describing the shift as “Dialing back the blues a bit and getting some Memphis soul grooves that lend these songs a funky quality and Maximum Volume Music heralded it as “... a wonderfully eclectic affair...If Beck, Steve Earle, and T-Rex got together for a jam it’s a fair bet it might turn out like this.”
Fresh textures abound, from the carnival of sounds on tongue-in-cheek “Drawn and Quartered” to the heartbreaking vocals of Heather Moulder on the spare, haunting lead track “Pass Me Over.” As a songwriter, Reed confidently mines the classic blues/rock vein in "Offamymind" ("Well I can barely walk, so I guess I oughta/ Get behind this wheel and drive”), effortlessly shifts gears to the satirical "Everybody's Waiting (for the end to come)," and turns introspective in "Looking Up Past Midnight."
"Beyond traditional genre constraints…reaching for a sound that is pushing the boundaries of Hill Country tradition." - The Oxford American
"TURCHI claims new ground for Southern rock and roll music." Country Fried Rock
"Turchi and Viterbini two have a minimalist, dark blues chemistry overflowing with earthy delta slide and dark pulsing electric guitar. No rhythm section adds to the tracks' late-night jam session feel, seemingly leaving them locked in conversation with no one else to listen or judge." - iTunes Editors
"Jumping in to Turchi is akin to ordering a pint at local bar deep in the Appalachia. It sounds like it’s made to be played in a dimly lit dancehall, and its guitar grooves and bass boogies make swinging along to the beat inevitable." Daily Tar Heel
"It commences with a prescient snare-drum rat-a-tat-tat, B-3 organ hum and bent-string licks that’ll warm the cockles of your Crescent City-lovin’ heart; it closes in a riotous orgy of distorted/phased gutbucket boogie, the likes of which fans of JJ Grey & Mofro and the North Mississippi Allstars savor and would even kill for. Turchi’s brand o’ roots ‘n’ blooze will make you a believer in the power of a higher spirit, or at least the power of hi-octane mountain moonshine. From the sound ofCan’t Bury Your Past the Turchi crew is fully ready to ascend the throne. It’s as rocking a set as any collection of Southern-fried stomp ‘n’ twang you’ll hear all year, yet there’s also an elusive element of cerebral sensuality that informs these ten tracks, and that collision of the primal and profound serves to give the material an uncommon emotional heft." Blurt Magazine
“Vital, live, and essential.” Living Blues Magazine
"...like ZZ Top fuzz choked out by weeds, though a few lysergic licks leach through...Dr. John-like hoodoo vocals over a swampy, psychedelic guitar lifted from Tony Joe White's back pages. "The record rolls like the Mississippi hills, but Turchi—born wanderers who travel to the Triangle so often they seem more local than regional—embraces multiple Deep South strains." -Indy Weekly
"In Scrapyard Turchi and Viterbini create plots of notes that are a solitary journey on straight roads and dusty with the thoughts that wander up to dissolve, giving way to ecstatic contemplation. Minimal arpeggios and slightly distorted slide guitar open the imagination of the listener who is carried away by the taste for composition but also by the instinct of the two artists who alternate entirely instrumental to songs with other masterfully interpreted by the voice of Turchi." - MusicFeed Italy
"Kudzu boogie is the shorthand the western North Carolina band Turchi uses to describe its bristling fusion of hard Mississippi Hill Country blues, southern rock, southern fried boogie and pungent Memphis soul...Reed Turchi is a fiery guitarist who especially likes to lace the tunes with slithering slide and a raspy vocalist who doesn't so much sing as use his growly drawl to pepper the tunes with hellfire tales of loneliness, obsession and retribution." Minneapolis City Pages
"TURCHI play a style of rock & blues that harken Beggars Banquet era Stones coupled together with the veiled introspection of Kurt Vile. Reed Turchi’s conversational lyrics and expressive guitar paint scenes of despair wrapped in hope." Visions of the Unexcused
"This is why they call it the dirty South." American Songwriter
"TURCHI’s mindset and loose, fall-off-the-bone guitar grooves spiritually trace to somewhere down in the land of Burnside, Kimbrough, and Kenny Brown…these juke-joint-jammers always keep it murky and muddy while recounting doing it in the dirt, imparting violence, pondering death, and then doing it in the dirt some more." -Bluesrag Magazine
"TURCHI cook up a swampy gumbo of blues and Memphis soul, highlighted by killer slide-guitar grooves." Bucket Full of Nails
Twangy rockers Turchi are a band from which you’ll undoubtedly be hearing a lot more in the future, but right now their present is pretty fucking rocking. Their new album Can’t Bury Your Past is so full of swagger and fun, it’s nearly impossible not to dance when you hear it. The slide guitar likely leaves smoke in its wake, and the scratchy, bluesy vocals are gritty and dirty like a well worn pair of work boots. This is a true low country sound created by a band so confident in their voice, they make their complex playing seem easy. The Horn, Austin TX
"With Cameron Weeks on drums and Andrew Hamlet on bass, TURCHI delivers primal slide runs and fuzzy garage licks that propel dirty backwater grooves. On top, Reed often talk-sings with a sandpaper throat that sounds like a vocal spawn of Lucero's Ben Nichols and underground blues hero R.L. Burnside." Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine