Laura Reed and Deep Pocket - Live at Tree Sound Studios CD/DVD

Laura Reed and Deep Pocket offer a spectacular collection of live tracks with this well-produced, eco-friendly package.
Laura Reed (short in stature, but gigantic in voice) and her band, Deep Pocket, have gained increased exposure and recognition for their lush grooves and powerful songs.  Deep Pocket is based out of Asheville, North Carolina, and this fertile environment has proved to be an excellent staging ground for their touring and studio efforts.  This newest production, produced in an eco-friendly fashion with Tree Leaf Music, offers bountiful evidence that Laura Reed may be one of the great undiscovered talents in the music scene today.  Laura's short frame and mild demeanor belie the fact that she may have one of the most powerful voices to recently grace the stage.  That may seem like robust praise, but when one listens to Laura Reed sing, one hears tinges of Lauryn Hill, dashes of Erykah Badu, and a heaping helping of Janis Joplin.  Reed wears her heart on her sleeve in performances, belting out her songs with passion, fire and determination.  The capable musicians in Deep Pocket offer precision and excellent execution to accompany her.  Deep Pocket is comprised of Laura Reed, Ryan Burns on keys and organ, Ben Didelot on bass, Jimbonk on drums, while Debrissa McKinney contributes backup vocals.  For this recording, (and at occasional shows) this core group is supplemented by the Asheville Horns, Greg Hollowell and Derrick Johnson (both of Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band fame), Silas Durocher on guitar, and Josh Phillips (Folk Festival) on percussion.  The recordings presented in "Live at Tree Sound Studios" are warm and engaging, passionate and inspired.


"Live at Tree Sound Studios" begins with "Why Have a Frown."  After a brief introduction, Laura welcomes the crowd, belts out the opening lines, and reminds everyone that it feels "so good to be alive, when you got love on your side."  Passionate delivery is a trait of this song, and a signature for the album in general.  This tune is punctuated with excellent horn work from Johnson and Hollowell, who offer enthusiastic embellishment to Reed's inspired lyrics.  The second track, "Thank You," is prefaced with Reed's thoughts on broken relationships and how those relationships shouldn't continue to be a source of negativity.  Although this sentiment is frequently lost in the world of jumbled heartbreak, this patient acceptance of life's tribulations is leveling and encouraging.  The song itself is lush, layered with keyboards and Reed's impeccable voice.  "Praise You" is deep and spiritually motivated, yet sonically engaging, rich, and warm at the same time.  "Predictable" ambles slow out of the gates, subtle and loose, offering atmospheric textures for Reed's amazing voice.  "Don't Go," according to Reed's introduction, is a song about "begging for forgiveness."  One can hear the loneliness, the quiet desperation in her voice; this is a song for heartbreak and drinking.  The smooth, refined jam of "Happy" flows along next, as Reed's delicate voice and lyrics remind one of the good side of Amy Winehouse.  The album closes on the virtues of Reed's chugging harmonica as she recounts the glory days of locomotives in the song "Train."  This inspired, rowdy song shows Deep Pocket hitting on all cylinders, with Reed bellowing on her harmonica and delivering lyrics like she was the crazed daughter of Janis Joplin.  This spirited finale proves to be an excellent conclusion for an amazing album.


"Live at Tree Sound Studios" is one of the more special albums I have had the opportunity to review while working for the Home Grown Music Network.  Reed and her cronies present something that is truly special and unique with this collection of songs, some of which were culled from Reed's debut disc, Soul Music.  Reed has that sort of cross-generational, genre-transcending voice that could poise her for stardom.  Reed has that sort of special voice that I would share with my Dad, could share with my Grandmother, and have shared with my sons and friends.  Included with the disc is a bonus DVD spotlighting 5 live performances from the Tree Sound session that is a nice accompaniment to the package.  In presenting this ambitious, polished selection of tracks, Laura Reed and Deep Pocket appear poised to take over the world, one song at a time.  I will be there, listening...

- By J. Evan Wade