Interview with Reece Sullivan
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
It's partially inconceivable to think of not making music at this point. I started playing piano because that's what my mother did, so it was a family thing. I was playing classical music like Bach and Beethoven but also Protestant Hymns. There was a turning point though when I was 15 when I fell into pop-rock music and decided I wanted to continue this basically forever. I had friends that were into sports, but I remember wondering what they'd do with themselves at age 30 or 40. I wanted something I could continue to develop. All that said, I'm a major fan of Peter Hyatt, a statement analyst, and have often said that if I were not a mono-maniac with music, I'd go learn under him and try to pursue that. It's extremely fascinating stuff.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
For years I read. I read almost everything that had a reputation of being of value. This included high-end literature, poetry, and philosophy, but I also skirted into certain areas of science, fringe science, and other non-fiction subjects. Nowadays I read less and spend a lot of my non-musical time with my kids, Sailor and Pearl, age 15 and 5, respectively. There's plenty of creativity going on with them to pick up on.
How long have you been making music?
I started piano when I was 6 and acoustic guitar when I was 15, which I fell in love with. I wrote my first song when I was 16, and me and friends started recording shortly after that on 4 tracks.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
I'm based out of Lafayette, Louisiana, but am from Arkansas. These states are side by side, of course, though the cultures are definitely different and distinctive. One ends up influenced musically, in my opinion, more by those directly around them than by most other things, including major label artists and such. Despite the fact that I love people like Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky, I gravitate towards blue-collar, Southern hardship-type stuff. I find a lot of country, hill folk-type lyrical themes compelling and also humorous if done right.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
That's a hard one because I love playing live and have had a lot of good experiences. Recently, though, I had a spat of good shows. I consider a good show one where I feel I played well, regardless of how many people are present. Another thing that makes for a memorable show is meeting new musicians, especially if one sits in with you or vice-versa, impromptu. With that in mind, I played a few shows in the last few months in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas (at the Dripping Springs Songwriter Festival), and Montana (at the Red Lodge Songwriting Festival) that I thought went really well and where I met a lot of new, great folks.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
A couple places come to mind. Generally, I've said that The Blue Moon in Lafayette is an especially great venue. But there was also Nick's Icehouse in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I played there in July of 2021, but unfortunately, it burned down later that week.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I'm fully content playing with folks I know and like: Clay Parker, Michael O'Connor, Troy Richard, and Jim Pharis. That said, I recently started listening to a guy a few cities over, Will Stewart - great stuff, and I'd love to play a show with him.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Show up every day and do the work.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I try to stay somewhat unattached to my songs. That said, I might would say, "Two Hands on the Plow." It represented a change in songwriting direction for me that I'd worked long to achieve.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
"Coming Off My Meds, Again," "On Top of the World," and "Be Still, My Heart" I enjoy playing. One of the more requested songs I can think of might be, "My Mary Magdalene," a song I've yet to record.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I don't wait on inspiration; I just write. Once you get going, inspiration comes in. I'll read certain poets - Villon and Shakespeare, to name a couple - to help me get out of lyrical ruts, though, and into something a bit beyond myself.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I'm pretty contrarian, so I sometimes gravitate towards slightly extreme ideas and passages. Other times, though, I try to challenge myself to write on themes that are outside my normal wheelhouse to keep things from falling in a lyrical rut.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I'm excited about a new album I'm working on with Miki McCartney, Jim McGee, and Charlie Gathe. We started it in August and most of the structure is close to formed up. It's turning out nice, I believe and hope to have it finished by late Spring or Summer, possibly. I also have a single that I started in August of 2018 that I plan to finish soon, too, though I'm not set on a title. For the moment, I'm calling it "Love in the Medieval Ages," and it's centered around reading I've done on the history of common folk from that era.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?