Brad Reid’s boot stomps as his fiddle sounds its Cape Breton heritage. It’s a high-top leather boot he bought touring Russia with Cirque du Soleil, where he played clarinet, sax, and guitar — while skating. Reid thought he’d landed his dream job — good pay, challenging music, traveling the world. In this interview, we chat with Brad about his inspirations, his start in music, and more.
Hey! Introduce yourself. Where are you from?
My name is Brad Reid. I’m from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada which is also where I currently live – Dartmouth actually, just across the harbor.
When did you start making music?
I started making music when I was 7. I took a group guitar class, but the teacher quit after one class! So I had the guitar and a few sheets of chords at home for years, and later, when I started playing saxophone at school when I was 11, I also taught myself to play guitar. Then around that same time, I started to learn fiddle – which was big in my family as my grandfather played, and the traditional Scottish/Cape Breton music was a big part of my family’s culture. I played all through school, and studied music in university, learning even more instruments, and working a lot in musical theatre pit bands. I identify most with the fiddle as it is something I grew up with, and I feel like I actually have something to say through the instrument, even though I enjoy playing all the other instruments at times too.
Who inspired you to start making music?
Partly my family – my grandfather and some of my aunts also played music, but also artists like Michael Jackson, and then in my own genre people like Ashley Macisaac and Natalie MacMaster, who come from my part of the world.
How would you describe your music style?
I play original fiddle music rooted in the Scottish and Cape Breton style, but also with modern sounds and grooves that incorporate the different genres I have been exposed to throughout my multi-instrumentalist life – jazz, classical, Latin, hip hop, etc.
Who are you listening to now?
I’m listening to a bluegrass band called Della Mae, and also Taylor Swift’s Folklore album, Martin Hayes, Duncan Chisholm, and Julie Fowlis.
What’s your best project or single so far?
My most recent album New Scotland, which was released in November 2020, is my best project so far.
Any upcoming releases from you to look out for?
Nothing firm here, but I have some ideas for singles that could come in the next few months.
Have any shoutouts?
Adam Young for having me record on his new album Yearbook, and play in an album release show he recently had.
Want more from Brad Reid? Find him on all social media platforms at @BradReidFiddler, on all streaming platforms, or purchase his music on his Bandcamp store.