Reed Dickinson
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Reed Dickinson

Cohasset, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE

Cohasset, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE
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"Making music is his ‘calling card’"

By Mary Jane Hanron
Thursday, December 21, 2006 -

Seated in his tastefully appointed living room graced by an elegant piano, Don “Reed” Dickinson reflected on the blessing bestowed upon him through his opportunities in life to create music.

“Commerce is not the point of what I do,” he said. “I want to share my music; it is my calling card.”

Dickinson who resides in Cohasset with his wife, daughter, son and wheaton terrier moved to the town 14 years ago from Milton. He was raised in Braintree and attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. For several years he was involved with his family’s business, a direct marketing firm, which eventually was sold.

He has since been able to focus on his passion and talent of various forms of musical expression. His most recent project, a CD titled “Bay Farm Sessions”, a collection of “demos” all written by Dickinson. Though very pleased about his latest venture, Dickinson finds the experience bittersweet due to the recent unexpected death of his friend and business colleague, Paul Caruso.

A talented producer, Caruso’s credits included work with Aerosmith, Joe Perry and Ringo Starr. “Paul was such a special guy,” Dickinson recalled. “When I first met him, there was a lot I wanted to do but I didn’t know how. Paul was the engineer. He knew. We built a studio upstairs in the bedroom. I would write a song and then he would know what instrument would work best for the sound. He made me into a better a writer. He knew a great song when he heard it. “Bay Farm Sessions” is dedicated to Paul. His absence leaves a huge void in my life. But I still feel his presence.”

Dickinson continued to describe the creative process and its impact on others. “Music touches the heart and words touch the brain. When the two come together, they feed the soul.” Not limiting his work to one genre of music has been a fascinating challenge for him. “Learning how to draft country songs is like telling a story. The lyric is so important. Lullabies and pop or rock are completely different.”

When creating a song Dickinson finds that a lyric or a tune may appear in his mind, but more often an idea will “hibernate” and eventually find its way to the piano keys and paper. Other times he hears the music in his head and will begin humming the chords. Inspiration comes to him in countless forms: his family, spirituality, nature, the woods, fields and trees. Sometimes a social concept ignites a spark that develops into a musical creation like, “Whatever happened to Sundays?” an observation that Sundays once were about rest, family dinners and time to “walk though the meadows.” Today they are about work and activities and shopping and “walking down aisles” of mall stores.

Another outlet at which he shares his creativity is the Company Theatre in Norwell. “I’ve been in several productions there.” Dickinson smiled as he recalled a particularly fun role as Gaston’s sidekick in “Beauty and the Beast. “It’s a great place for the community,” he added.

He also teaches a song-writing course at the Company Theatre for three weeks during the summer for 9-17 year olds, though he believes that developing such skills and changing direction in life can happen at any age. “Most people who fail at things give up too soon,” he said. “It is important to tap into something good- something beyond you; the creative spirit. Pay attention to the signs in your life.”

Prior to “Bay Farm Sessions,” Dickinson had released the CD’s “Ruby”(2003) and “Playing Games with the Sun”(2001).

On his new CD, for the first time he had eight of the vocals sung by someone other than himself. Erin Vulgamore, a singer discovered through Berklee College’s website is heard on the recordings. “Her voice was perfect for the sessions,” Dickinson said. She has a terrific voice for country and pop music.” Also heard on the CD are seven other musicians.

This fall, the CD, “Sheltered In Love” will be released and will feature two songs from Dickinson’s latest work. This compilation of musical artists will raise donations for Covenant House, a non- profit organization for runaway teens. Dickinson’s work has been met with upbeat reviews. Modern Rock says, “Dickinson obviously has heaps of talent as a songwriter.”

Dickinson practices his own philosophy and expresses his gratitude for his ability to do so. “I know how lucky I am to be able to do this,” he said.” Five years ago I never would have thought this would be my life. I am blessed because this is what I like to do. I can write music, take walks with my wife and dog, be with my kids. But people can do what they love as a hobby, too. It’s important to take that corner toward change. Everyone has importance. And everyone can do something. You can be the change you want to see in the world.”

Dickinson’s Cd’s are available on (type in Reed Dickinson). Dickinson songs are also available on iTunes.

- Cohasset Mariner

"armed to conquer the airwaves"

Reed Dickinson picks up where he left off with "Playing Games With the Sun." Somehow and I don’t know how, he’s able to actually write BETTER songs! Utilizing drum loops as well as a hodge-podge of instruments like the fiddle, mandolin, steel drums, trumpet, violin, cello, along with your standard three-piece. The title-track is a standout on an album of standouts—I mean that hook is so good it’s sick. He improved his singing ten-fold, which on his last album might have been his only, and I mean only, downfall. So now that he’s armed to conquer the airwaves, are you ready to surrender?

"enamored by his songs"

Dickinson returns with his second offering. The music is an amalgam of power pop that traces its roots to the old days of glam rock and big-sounding bands like ELO and Squeeze. A definite '80s nostalgia is at work here. And, again, the songwriting is Dickinson's strong point; choruses have solid hooks, instrument arrangements are varied and interesting, and production is top notch. The title track leaps off the disc with a searing guitar lead, before settling down to an acoustic charge and then building again. And when that chorus hits, with the piano hammering away, I get flashbacks of ELO. Dickinson can kick it up too, as in "Devil Doll," an up-tempo, power-chord-chugging number. It gets a bit dissonant in the middle, but I liked it, nonetheless. He even infringes on a jazz-cabaret sound with "Lazy Day," a slow, sultry number, and his vocals fit quite well. Once again I am rather enamored by his songs.

- NY Rock

"CD REVIEW: Reed Dickinson – “Ruby”"

Ruby is a word that conjures up a solid wall of rich red. But I hear many multi-colored influences on “Ruby” from Nashville to Liverpool. One of strongest songs in my opinion is “No Longer A Chore” for its melody, its lovely slide guitar touches and background vocals. All of the musicians are polished pros and add strong touches. There are drum loop credits given on 6 of the 13 songs which give the CD a strong pop feel. Actual human operated drums do appear, as does a steel drum. Dickinson himself plays lead, does all lead vocals, plays keyboards and even arranges the strings. He also does all the songwriting and delivers each one in a pleasing, rich, smooth voice. “Ruby” is full of positive songs that are fun loving and well played.
- The Muses Muse

"Reed Dickinson - Ruby"

For all you folks hooked on VH-1s "I Love the 80s" series, complaining that they don't write songs like they used to, Dickinson's sophomore effort may just be the answer to your prayers. From the catchy "Ruby Red Eyes," with its perfectly executed mini guitar solo from Dana West, to the cheesy, feminine backing vocals of Kerrie Powers on the toe-tapping "Dangerous Curves," and the jumpy, dancefloor magnetism of "Devil Doll, Ruby will bring a smile to fans of such 80s' singer/songwriters as Roy Sundholm and Tommy Keene. Even Wallflowers and Jayhawks' fans will be pleased with the vibe of the twangy, violin-led (courtesy Matt Leavenworth) "No Longer A Chore." Howard Jones and Paul Young fans may shed a few tears over the heartbreaking tearjerker, "Springtime Will Come Again," and even an old codger like me couldn't refrain from welling up over the father-daughter lovesong, "Rebecca." But these are only minor pitstops along the way, and are quickly overshadowed by the likes of "Limboland," which wears its reggae influences on its sleeve and will have Parrotheads dancing in the aisles, and "I Am A Kite," which sounds like a long-lost Cars' B-side. Ruby is highly recommended for power pop fans of everyone from The Knack and Shoes to 20/20 and The Pop, and is infinitely better than last year's disappointing Rubinoos' comeback.
- Fake Jazz

"Reed Dickinson - Ruby"

Reed Dickinson - Ruby
Review by Doug Cornell

Are you convinced that there is no one creating pure pop/rock any more? Long before Matthew Sweet flamed out, Cheap Trick sold out to the commercial music empire. These days, all music is pigeonholed into sub-genres.

Boston's Reed Dickinson is serious about putting some fire into the pop/rock category. His new album, Ruby, successfully combines pop melodies with guitar/drum/bass/keyboards rock instrumentation (and maybe a bit of fiddle thrown in for good luck). Dickinson's sharp tenor voice is an acquired taste - his pitch is perfect and he surely knows his way around a hook.

The first track, "Ice On a River," opens with a "Dream Police" era synth melody. The lyrics, which describes a rich, bored businessman, are right out of the '70's. But Dickinson redeems himself with an incredible chorus. "Ruby Red Eyes" is pure pop bliss, with it's happy beat, slamming piano, and radio-ready chorus. Musically, the next track, "No Longer a Chore," could be from the Tom Petty catalog, with it's strumming guitars and fiddle solo. Dickinson also has a way with ballads ("Write to Me", "Believe In Yourself", "Lazy Day"), and while no new ground is broken, he certainly excels at writing melodies. "Limboland" is silly fun, complete with island drums and airy trumpets. "Dangerous Curves," the obligatory driving song, lightens the mood before the dark and moody "Springtime Will Come Again." Expertly recorded guitars, drums and keyboards make a pleasant backdrop for the bubblegum pop of "I Am a Kite." "Bad to Me" has a bit of a Stones vibe, while "Devil Doll's" fast beat is guaranteed to light up the dance floor. Beautiful acoustic guitars and excellent harmonies close the album with the interesting ballad "Rebecca."

There's no new ground being broken on Ruby. Dickinson gives us expertly recorded rock and pop, with solid musicianship and crisp production. Sometimes he gets a little sappy, but for anyone looking for some pure, clean music, Ruby fits the bill.
- Hit Session

"An exceptional singer/songwriter"

"An exceptional singer/songwriter with a heavy storytelling element surfacing in most of his lyrics, Dickinson launches full throttle into modern rock, but loves reversing into power ballad guitar and the synthesizer sound of older Duran Duran."

By Genevieve Will

Although “he’s grown up, and he’s mature,” Reed Dickinson can’t seem to abandon the 80s on his new album Ruby. An exceptional singer/songwriter with a heavy storytelling element surfacing in most of his lyrics, Dickinson launches full throttle into modern rock, but loves reversing into power ballad guitar and the synthesizer sound of older Duran Duran.

The same gentle excited vocals from Dickinson’s last album Playing Games With the Sun emerge on his new one, only now stronger and accompanied by the singing delight Kerri Powers. Playing the safer side of rock, nothing to heavy or abrupt, Dickinson nonetheless shows himself to be relatively experimental. While a significant portion of the tracks are straight rock with poignant blues-style guitar, he playfully incorporates the sounds of reggae in “Limboland” and country in “No Longer a Chore.” Also quite impressive is the orchestral intro to “Springtime Will Come Again,” nearly evoking the excitement at the inception of a Pink Floyd great.

Not that Dickinson accomplished all this on his own; he certainly has no shortage of musical supporters. To jump into the extensive list: Paul Caruso on drums and keyboards, Dana West on guitars, Janet Hood doing keyboards and string arrangements as well, Danny Mo on bass, Cameron Sawzin on cello, Jane Hemenway on violin, Matt Leavenworth on mandolin, Fiddle Jeff Stout on trumpet and PJ Adamson on steel drums.

Once again, I’ll plug “Springtime Will Come Again,” as it is a simply gorgeous consolation for and about one who has experienced a great deal of tragedy/pain. I also have to drop props to “Ice on a River” for its 80s sound, great backup vocals by Kerri Powers and socially pointed lyrics against corporate bastards. Finally, “Devil Doll” remains a favorite with its drum ’n bass intro and hilarious male-anti-female lyrics.

"Reed Dickinson - RUBY"

I promised Reed (a coupla' months ago) that I'd get this full CD reviewed before trekkin' all over th' world. Though my schedule's been krammed, that's not the only reason it hadn't been reviewed yet. Once I put it in th' CD player in th' truck, I couldn't take it out! He described it as "primarily a rock album", & that fits it pretty aptly. The first track, "Ice On A River" is one of my favorites, & a large part of why th' album stayed in my truck so long. There's a lot of energy & talent displayed here, & though it's not (by any stretch) an "improv" album, it has a relentless punch & enough driving rhythms to salvage it from any "bugglebum" categorization. College listeners will dig it, verzure, & even some of us old cats will find ourselves skippin' back to toons (like th' title track) that remind us of long-lost teenage loves. Dickinson's vocals are clear & "up", & he has a supporting cast of musicians that know xactly what he wants to convey. A cool lil' album that makes for great cruising on down th' road - gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who want something to groove to. - Improvijazzation Nation

"Reed Dickinson • Ruby"

Dickinson is a Boston-area native who plays a unique brand of lighthearted rock, extolling the virtues of living, in vibrant songs of sheer optimism. The musical prowess is quite advanced, many songs feature fantastic guitar solos that reinforce the inherent light of the vocals. His music has been compared to the Beatles, and I definitely sense Beatlesence in it. Truly a feelgood album –one could not logically listen to this record and then jump off a building, unless there was a serious chemical imbalance in one's brain. - Impact Press

"New Artist - Folk"

Reed Dickinson Releases Critically Acclaimed CD

Reed Dickinson of Massachussetts has made the transition to full time songwriter and recording artist. Dickinson studied music at Berklee College of Music.

Reed recorded a CD of his original music and released it in August 2001. Since then, more than a dozen music publications have written about the CD in very favorable terms.

Reed?s music is a soft rock/ contemporary release reminiscent of the late sixties and early seventies popular music. The songs on the CD deal with many diverse subjects including love, domestic violence, world peace, spirituality, relationships, sensationalizing killers and problems with used cars. His music has been compared to The Beatles, Kenny Loggins and James Taylor as well as others.

Playing Games With The Sun was recorded by Reed in his digital home studio and also at Paul Caruso?s Bay Farm Sound Studio in Kingston, MA. Caruso also produced the CD and engineered it as well.

The CD features many local musicians as well including the folk singer, Kris Delmhorst; saxophonist, Billy Novick; guitarist, Dana West; keyboardist, Janet Hood; bass player and Berklee College of Music professor, Danny Mo and Paul Caruso himself on drums and percussion. Reed, who sings lead and harmony vocals and plays keyboards, also wrote the music.

Reed has a website,, where you can learn more about his music, listen to music samples and buy the CD. His music is also available at Reed is working with Paul Caruso on a follow-up CD. It will be out at the beginning of 2003.

- Garage Radio


New Man Emerging 1998
Playing Games With The Sun 2001
Ruby 2003
The Bay Farm Sessions 2006



Reed Dickinson is a Boston, MA area native who's been recording his own music since 1996. He recorded the retro rock CD Playing Games with the Sun and released it in August 2001 to critical acclaim.

Reed released Ruby (Rock) in 2003. Ruby was engineered and produced by the late great Paul Caruso at Bay Farm Sound Studio, MA. Paul was well known for his work with the band Aerosmith and solo artist Joe Perry. Paul also lent a hand with drums and percussion.

Reed released The Bay Farm Sessions (Country/ Pop) in 2006. It was a compilation of the last sessions he recorded with Paul Caruso before Paul's untimely death in May 2006. It also includes some of the great Boston musicians that made up the Playing Games with the Sun and Ruby sessions. But this time Reed introduces a new female lead vocalist, Erin Vulgamore, to these sessions.

Two of the cuts from this CD, "Somebody's Somebody" (country/pop) and "Today" (Christian), will be featured on the CD "Sheltered In Love" which will be released in January 2007 to raise money for Covenant House.

"Today" will also be featured at Hurricane Healing is a website where you can hear and buy music donated by artists from all over the world. Funds received will aid victims of the 2006 Hurricane Season.

Reed's songs are featured on a number of internet radio stations including The Spirit Radio and Celebrate Radio.

Reed composed the movie score for the independent movie, "Doppelganger" (2005).

Reed is now concentrating on writing and publishing country music and he is recording in Nashville, TN. A new country CD is expected to be released in 2007. He is a member of NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) and TAXI.