Sam Reid and the Riot Act
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Sam Reid and the Riot Act

Somerville, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Somerville, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Americana Bluegrass




"Live Reviews"

Atwood’s Tavern, Cambridge MA

Atwood’s Tavern, with a reputation for amazing music and excellent craft beer is king of a home away from home for me. Tonight is extra special as I’m out with one of my good friends, Sooz and her two sisters who are in town from Omaha in celebration of her birthday. If there was ever a way to get a taste of Cambridge nightlife, this is it. On stage is the extremely talented group of musicians known as Sam Reid & the Riot Act heating up the room with fiery mandolin solos and smoking fiddle solos. It’s perfect music for sipping whiskey and catching up with old friends. Rumor has it that the Boston Red Sox’s old manager, Terry Francona, is in attendance catching the show. I’m not really a sports fan, so I couldn’t confirm or deny if it was him or just a look-alike. There is a dance party at the end of the set to Sam’s version of Salt Creek featuring a nasty solo on the acoustic guitar that has the crowd calling for more. Until next time! (Kier Byrnes) - The Noise Magazine

"Sam Reid & the Riot Act"

Expounding on influences as varied as bluegrass, rock,jazz and pop, Sam Reid & The Riot Act are redefining the boundaries of acoustic music. Their new album entitled, A Slow Burn, is just about to breakout in the Northeast and with it, an electrifying hybrid of Americana songs that reflect the ingenuity of the band's frontman, Sam Reid. I spoke with Sam one late September day and he tied together the pieces that make up his inventive band, The Riot Act.

METRONOME: I dig the name of your band, Sam Reid & The Riot Act. When did you form the group?

Sam Reid: The band was formed five years ago, but we've been together in our present state for two years.

METRONOME: Who are the current members of the band?

Sam Reid: I play guitar and sing. Johnny Ransom plays bass and sings. The drummer's name is J.C. Campbell. He does some singing too. We do a lot of harmonies and stuff. He rounds out our three part harmonies. Our mandolin player's name is Aaron Goff and our fiddle player is Joe Kessler.

METRONOME: How did you all meet?

Sam Reid: We started as a two piece; it was me and Johnny [Ransom]. We knew each other from way back because we used to play in Three Day Threshold together.

METRONOME: So you've known Kier [Byrnes] for a long time too?

Sam Reid: I've known him since I joined his band and that was in 1998. We have a good history there.

METRONOME: Did you and Johnny break off from Three Day Threshold to form the duo act?

Sam Reid: Johnny left Three Day Threshold a few years earlier because he and his wife had a child. I stayed for a few more years. Johnny and I were always getting together and we talked about
forming a band, but we really didn't have a concept. When we would play together, more often than not, I would play the acoustic guitar
which was something that I grew up doing. I always played electric guitar in bands like Three Day Threshold. Then, I started brainstorming and thinking, wouldn't it be cool to have an acoustic lead guitar in more of a rock band setting? Sort of aggressive like when you see a bluegrass band. lt's always been a really dramatic sound to me, so I thought it would be cool to accentuate it with electric bass and drums rather than drown it out.

METRONOME: Do you approach the music like Dave Matthews or are you more like Bob Dylan in that setting?

Sam Reid: I would put both ot those guys in the strumming category. Personally, my influences tend more towards the bluegrass guitar layers
like Tony Rice and Russ Barenberg. These guys never really played in an electrified setting. They play really exciting acoustic guitars in all-acoustic bands. l just thought it would be cool if you could make it louder.

METRONOME: Would you label your act a bluegrass band?

Sam Reid: No, I wouldn't do that. I would say it's a rock band with bluegrass sensibilities. The sensibilities would be easy to define; the lead lines are done by acoustic instruments rather than electric and we employ three part harmonies.

METRONOME: Have you released any CDs and are they still available?

Sam Reid: Yes we do. We recorded our first CD together in 2009 and we just finished up a new record. lt hasn't even been pressed yet-We're really excited about this.

METRONOME: What was the name of your 2009 release?

Sam Reid: The first album was called Dreaming The Life.

METRONOME: Was it all original songs and how many?

Sam Reid: It wasn't all original tunes. There were ten tunes and six of them were originals.

METRONOME: Who were some of the people you covered?

Sam Reid: For the most part, the covers that we do are old traditionals. Old fiddle tunes from lreland. Appalachian tunes, and songs that were covered by lots and lots of people largely in a bluegrass setting, but were written by somebody so long ago that no one really knows. They're public domain at this point.

METRONOME: How did you mine those artists and songs?

Sam Reid: I grew up backing up my dad and he loved bluegrass music. I grew up listening to these awesome records that were made in the 60s and 70s. In the late 70s especially, there was this real resurgence of bluegrass and it was the start of the "newgrass" movement. lt wasn't old, stodgy bluegrass, it was really exciting. There were a lot of jazz elements to it. There's a lot of parallels between bluegrass and jazz. I grew up listening to a lot of that stuff and was exposed to a lot of
that music. I started revisiting it again when we started to form this band. It was a big influence on my playing, both acoustically and electrically,
especially in a band like Three Day Threshold. Huge country influence. Electrified bluegrass. Kier and I were definitely on the same wavelength as far as that goes.

METRONOME: Tell me about your father. Is he a player?

Sam Reid: He doesn't play too much anymore, but he sure did. He's a multi-instrumentalist. He plays the violin, piano and guitar. He picked up the guitar - Metronome Magazine

"Live Reviews"

Sam Reid & the Riot Act bring the show to a close, and though a lot of folks have regrettably left, those at Oberon want to hear the energetic folk tunes of these local greats and show their appreciation. Aaron Goff brings some fire with his mandolin and Joe Kessler gifts us with some smooth fiddle goodness. This band is another staple of the festival, and an example of what great things it can accomplish. (Max Bowen) - The Noise - Boston

"Southern Man"

THE BLUEGRASS MOVEMENT HAS MADE A FEW FRIENDS SINCE VENTURING beyond the desolate hills and backwoods dives of the Deep South. Massachusetts native Sam Reid flatpicks his way through the high and lonesome gospel, trading in the brass-knuckle blues for a sunny-day alternative. It all amounts to a sort of Americana hybrid, a cross between Kentucky bluegrass, beach-bum pop, and a city-dwelling “Slave to the Traffic Light” mentality. The best part is that feels great whether your toes are buried in sand or shacked up for the winter in a pair of boots. As former members of balls-to-the-wall punk country outfit Three Day Threshold, Reid and bassist Johnny Ransom know a thing or two about dragging a pure movement through the mud. Sam Reid & the Riot Act let it bask in the sun too. -



Hailing from Somerville, MA, Sam Reid & the Riot Act performs mostly original songs, continually inspired by Irish fiddle tunes, bluegrass and newgrass music that Sam grew up playing. Founded in 2006 by Sam and Johnny (two veterans of the Boston music scene as founding members of alt-country band Three Day Threshold), these days the band performs regularly at festivals, breweries, and Boston area music venues immersed in the burgeoning New England Americana scene. Sam Reid & the Riot Act guarantees a jaw-dropping, foot-stomping show, every time they take the stage!

Band Members