Flat Top Reed
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Flat Top Reed

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"Who knew two white dudes from Grand Junction could be so cool?
Flat Top Reed¹s Paul Harshman and John Anglim, with a little help from their friends, have done it again. Their new CD, ³Junction², is way cool. These guys know how to sing and play the blues.
...A studio produced CD, ³Junction² is a seamless blend of original songs and traditional blues tunes. From the first cut, ³Purple Tattoo² to ³Crazy Blues² it is a delightful, toe-tapping journey. The more I¹ve listened to it, the better I like it."

DarraLee Coba,
The Grand Junction Free Press

"I just want to let you know how much I dig "Junction" and am blown away by the production and performances! I played 2 tracks on Saturday and will urge all the KAFM programmers to play it. You and Paul and Jon James have raised the bar on local music recordings. Please pass on my congrats to the other musicians.

JIm Kearns"The Kid"
KAFM Community Radio Programmer

"Flat Top Reed is by no means limited to folk-blues, good as they are at that. Their first album consisted exclusively of an acoustic folky sound for which they became known, and it¹s earned them quite a devoted following. Fans like myself, some of whom wore out copies of the first Flat Top CD with repeated playing, have been waiting excitedly to see where they would go next.

Now on Junction, we hear their increasing mastery of various sounds ­ and their ability to transform those sounds into an approach uniquely their own.
³Coo Coo² stretches the Flat Top Reed sound to include fiddle, with country inflections and a lonesome, almost eerie sound. ³Buffalo Gal², a straightforward singer-songwriter ballad, also includes fiddle. ³Purple Tattoo², the CD¹s opening track, explores new and upbeat territory as the boys rock things a bit. Then there¹s ³Crazy 2², a jaunty little tune that is, for me, the highlight of the album. Its feeling is light and breezy, with female backup singers interacting playfully with Flat Top and Reed. Timing in at just three minutes, it has the timeless vibe of a pop hit single.

Altogether, this new Flat Top Reed release will please both their loyal fan base and newcomers to their music. It expands on their mellow, personable sound, while always staying on that comfortable back porch where their listeners like to meet them. Their next challenge will be to bring that back porch to listeners beyond Western Colorado, and with their fine musical workmanship, Flat Top Reed should pull that off in fine style. Give Junction a listen; you¹ll be glad you did."

Rebecca Davis Winters
Music writer and historian


- By Rebecca Davis Winters


Discography

Ist CD release in 2005. Self titled: Flat Top Reed
2nd CD released October 2006. Flat Top Reed, "Junction."

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The heart of Flat Top Reed is the acoustic duo of Paul Harshman and John Anglim, two musicians who have played professionally with bands of virtually every description. Their separate musical paths stretch back decades, touching blues, folk, rock, jazz, country, rockabilly, grunge, and eclectic groups that defy description. Those paths crossed in Grand Junction in 2002, when they met through a volunteer project for Community Radio Station KAFM 88.1. www.kafmradio.org

In just a few short years the duo became one of the hardest working and well-known local acts, appearing at Grand Junction venues such as: Boomers, Dolce Vita, The Spotlight Lounge, The Rockslide, The Avalon, Mesa Theatre and all the usual outdoor venues, including local festivals, The Farmers Market, and The Botanical Gardens Amphitheatre.

Flat Top Reed is also sought after for private parties, where their easy mix of blues and rock appeals to a wide variety of musical tastes. Their self-titled CD was named Best Local New Release for 2003 by James Williams, Music Director for KAFM Community Radio.

The band has also been the subject of feature stories by noted music writer and historian Rebecca Davis Winters, as well as features by entertainment journalist, Peter Frankland. Although best known for their work as a duo, Flat Top Reed is frequently joined by other area musicians for some truly eclectic and inspired collaborations on stage.

Over the course of their separate musical journeys, Paul and John have played practically every kind of contemporary music and shared the stage with acts like the Subdudes, The Dixie Chicks, Lu Anne Barton, Trout Fishing in America just to name a few. From the elite rooms like the Caravan of Dreams and the clubs of Dallas and Denver to the dives of Jacksboro Highway in Texas, all the way to the pubs of England and Paris, their footsteps have led them to Western Colorado, where as Flat Top Reed, they have found yet another musical home.

Paul Harshman started playing guitar in the third grade. His first garage band at age 14 was an eclectic collection of local 70's rockers combining the accordion, congas, electric guitars and various lawn tools to cover music from Santana, Neil Young, Creedance Clearwater Revival and others. Like many Colorado boys, Paul got his early blues influences first from white blues players in the early 70's like John Mayhall and Eric Clapton. However, these only whetted the appetite and it wasn't long before names like Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters came into the picture.

By 1976 Paul hit the music scene in Denver trying to learn everything and play with everybody. There were always street musicians on 16th street and hippies, miners and madmen at Washington park who had something to contribute to Paul's music education. Playing with various bar bands and just generally being ready to play for any occasion put Paul in contact with a wonderful array of musicians, some famous, some never to be heard from again.

The celebrated, contemporary jazz instrumentalist, Al Di Meola, once listened to Paul and some other street musician friends in Larimer Square in Downtown Denver in 1979 and showed his appreciation by providing tickets to his own concert that night.

The famous harmonica player James Cotton, well known for his days with Muddy Water's Legendary Blues Band, once encouraged Paul to start his own band and get on the road. Unfortunately, it was quite some time before the great blues man's advice would take hold. Paul was content to play with some great players in the Denver area like Tim Garst of Propeller, who together with Paul started Noah Steam in late 1986. Noah Steam was a six-piece rock and roll band playing originals written by Paul and Tim and also covering songs from bands like the Stones, Cars, Van Morrison and Lynard Skynard. Noah Steam worked its way up from the bottom of the Denver circuit starting out on skid row at the Longhorn at 21st and Larimer Street in Denver and ending up in the glitz-rock dance bars in the suburbs. By 1989 Paul was back on his own playing his own way. Life conspired to keep the performing to a minimum until recently, although Paul continued to play his music with friends around living rooms and on porches across the western slope.

Now, with Flat Top Reed, Paul's extensive experience comes once again to the fore for audiences to appreciate - and they do.

John Anglim grew up in Washington D.C., where his earliest influences were the soul and R&B radio stations of the sixties. John used to attend the performances at the famous Howard Theatre where he saw acts like Jr. Walker and the All Stars, Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Wilson Pickett, The BarKays and a host of other soul acts.

By the late sixties, John had read too much Jack Kerouac and was on the road, hitchhiking around the country with a harmonica for company.