Earlier this evening, I went to Farmhouse Gallery & Gardens in Unicoi, Tenn., to see Reagan Boggs perform. She was on stage as part of the four-day Johnson City Folk Festival. She did a great set. The only problem I had with her performance is that it was just not long enough. She is a wonderful entertainer – very talented, and one who really seems to enjoy working for her audience.
Reagan was kind enough to do a very lengthy interview for us. I’ll post that below, and put a few of the pictures up from this afternoon’s performance, too. Hope you will all visit her web site, listen to her music, and let me know what you think. Keep your eyes open for her new album, too – scheduled to release in February.
1. If you had to describe your sound to someone who had never heard you, would you say your vocals and style are similar to any other artist? If so, who? My vocals are commonly compared to Linda Ronstadt, that’s a huge compliment to me though I’m not sure our styles are as similar. I’ve also been told I sound a little like Alison Moorer and Pattly Lovelace.
As far as style goes, I would basically consider myself country, but it’s colored by many other genres mainly because I listen to about everything and always have … Loretta Lynn, Blondie, Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Patty Griffin, Chris Knight, Buddy and Julie Miller, Patty Lovelace, Lucinda Williams, Seldom Scene, Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell. My intent is to write good songs, sing them with feeling and have some great music behind it. I think with my roots and southwest Virginia accent, listeners will probably always hear country come through.
2. Do you have any opinion about the way country music has evolved over the years? How do you feel about ‘country/rock,’ ‘country/pop’, and ‘country/rap’. Do you think these styles are hurting traditional country artists? Do you believe the artists are making these changes, or do you think they are doing what industry executives are telling them to do? Describe YOUR genre’ in one word. The industry does what it thinks it needs to to survive. Part of that I guess is testing the waters and stretching the boundaries – "New and Improved" when most of the time, it’s great just to have the real Coke. I loved what Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam, Foster and Lloyd and others brought to country in the 80’s, I like country/rock, and I actually think I fit there. That’s now what I basically fall into – Americana. Country tends cyclically to go astray or morph into a less appealing, more commercial version of itself. That stuff generally runs its course, then you will have a real gem of a talent reign it back in again. Keith Whitley was able to do that. He helped transition country from “Islands in the Stream” to “I’m no Stranger to the Rain.” Bless him! I can’t listen to most of what is on country radio today. If I’m sitting in a restaurant somewhere, and it’s playing on the overhead, it’s going to be a quick dinner.
My genre, Americana.
3. Can you tell us anything about your new album, scheduled to release in January. Is Quicksand a full album, or an EP? Or is it the name of a single? Titled Quicksand. Full length. Official street release date is Feb 11, 2014. The “quicksand” theme resonates throughout the album. The 12 songs on the project that are her own writings expose a very raw, vulnerable side of her. They cross a range of emotions from insecurity, hopelessness, loss, and revelation. With her rich voice, she strips bare stark realities, feelings, and situations that trap people in jobs, places, and relationships. The album is not all “depressing,” she says with a laugh. She does admit the overall mood may be serious, “but these are the things we struggle with, or at least I know I do.”
There is more diversity in the sound when compared to her previous releases Never Looking Behind and Right Now. She showcases her Pound, VA heritage in the light-hearted track, “Appalachia,” that has a roots feel mixed with a little JJ Cale. “Not the New Me” leans more toward a blues or Motown vibe, and the driving acoustic guitar in “Come to Me” is reminiscent of early Steve Earle. “When it Mattered,” a good-bye lullaby with a sarcastic edge, may have fit nicely on AM Country playlists in the 1960s.
The new album also features a unique rendition of Eddie Vedder’s “Better Man” delivered in first-person. “The idea was to have listeners ‘see’ through a woman’s voice,” Boggs explains. “Abuse is not always physical or visible, and leaving or being alone seems much worse than just dealing with it. It’s such a great song – with such an unnerving production.”
4. On the lighter side, do you have any pets? If so, what kind and what are their names? I have a gray cat I’ve had for 13 years. His name is Ghost. He was a rescue kitty and a gift from my husband. He felt sorry for me as I lay on the couch looking like Mike Tyson had beaten me after I had all my wisdom teeth removed. He said the shelter had "danger" written on his cage, so that’s why he picked him. He’s a sweety though. I love dogs, but unfortunately, don’t have the time to give them the attention they would deserve.
5. Have you set any career goals for yourself? Any ‘deadlines’ for achieving those goals? I want to stay in love with music. I find every time I try to put the pressure of goals and mark it with achievements, it turns it into something less. I think the goal has always been just be keep playing music in whatever capacity I am able to at the time. If something more comes from that, fantastic, if not, it is still the anchor that keeps me sane and grounded.
6. I know you have performed at Bristol’s Rhythm and Roots a few years ago. What is the one thing you remember most about that experience? I’ve played it many times and loved every one. Best memory may be playing the Cameo Theater to a packed house.
7. You also write, do you prefer to write alone, or collaborate with other writers? I haven’t tried very often. If find I have to write when the opportunity is there. Coordinating co-writing sessions is a bit of a challenge, but something I’m open to.
8. The Internet, Facebook, Twitter and personal web sites have made it very easy for entertainers to keep their fans informed. Do you think this has made things better or worse for artists than in the days before the Internet? That’s a great question, I think it helps in a lot of ways but hurts greatly in some. It’s priceless for getting the word out and selling online without much expense. It also gives people a chance to feel like they are a part of something – like they have a closer connection with the direct line of contact. It’s killed street sales and surprisingly hasn’t helped live show attendance. Seems folks would rather watch YouTube videos rather than go out and actually see a live show.
Cant’s stop without thanking Reagan for taking so much time to answer those questions for us. That was a great interview. It was also a great performance by a very talented young lady. In addition to her web site, please visit her facebook page, and be sure to “like” it while you are there! I’ll be back with more soon!