Although we have nothing against The Lone Bellow or Wild Child (we’ve actually covered them quite a bit), and Union Transfer is certainly one of our favorite places in the city, we must admit that we’re quite anxious to have indie folk poppers The Wild Reeds back at a local headlining show for the first time in two years. Although I hope that the LA-based group; fronted in equal measures by singer/songwriters Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe, and Sharon Silva (and rounded out by the rhythm section of Nick Jones and Nick Phapiseth); added to their fan base with a couple of mega-tours, opening for some mega-sized peers, we’re, personally, ready for them to spend an evening calling the shots once again. The last time we saw The Wild Reeds headlining was in April of 2017 at Boot & Saddle, our favorite honky-tonk-turned-punk-watering-hole. However, the batch of dates that they just kicked off will have them headlining the far more spacious (and far posher) mainstage of World Café Live next Tuesday, April 9th.
The Wild Reeds are currently touring behind their third full-length, Cheers, which dropped last month on Dualtone Records. For the album, Lee, Howe, and Silva allowed each other to explore their songwriting tastes and tendencies to the fullest degree, making for their both most varied and most honest effort to date, and a batch of songs that would have them equally fit to share a stage with The Lumineers or Best Coast. I recently got a chance to chat with one of the band’s three singer/songwriters, Kinsey Lee, to discuss their latest work, Philthy, and what we can expect of their local live appearance next week, which also boasts a support slot from our mutual good friends, Valley Queen.
Izzy Cihak: Considering this is a Philadelphia-based publication, I have to ask your thoughts on the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection (as we like to call it).
Kinsey Lee: I’ve decided, after touring the country several times, that if I moved to the East Coast, I would settle in Philly. I’m a born and raised Italian deli girl and there’s a freaking deli on every corner over here! Philly also seems to have a music scene that hustles. It seems like when you’re competing with NYC you’ve gotta push to make your own name and do everything yourself. I respect that kind of work ethic and call it when I see it.
Izzy: I know you recently released Cheers, your third album. Have you had any favorite reactions to it so far, whether from critics or just friends? I saw that BUST gave it a 5/5, which is totally a rad accolade to have.
Kinsey: My favorite moment with friends and fans was showing them a sneak peak of our new tunes and playing the first 30 seconds of “Lose My Mind.” They thought it was a joke but when my first vocal came in they looked at me and said, “No way. This is so freaking fresh.” There are some new sounds on this record and it was so fun to lean into that.
Izzy: What was some of the music that was in heavy rotation at the time the album was conceived, whether or not you think it directly influenced your sound?
Kinsey: Just a few would be: Roy Orbison, The Roaches, Dr. Hook, Liam Lynch, Beach Boys, Bill Withers, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Perfume Genius, The Beatles, Lesley Gore, Suzi Quatro, Elvis Costello.
Izzy: Do you have any influences that you think might surprise your fans, whether musical or otherwise?
Kinsey: I can’t speak for the girls, but I just realized how big of an influence Barbara Streisand has had on my voice over the years. As a kid my mom had all of her records, I knew every song from Yentl before I had even seen the film. She is a powerhouse and when I started driving, I would sing at the top of my lungs in the car and try and hold my notes as long as she could.
Izzy: You have a really lengthy batch of live dates coming up. Are there any shows you’re especially excited to play, or just cities you’re especially excited to visit or revisit?
Kinsey: I’m always stoked to revisit Boston. Every time we play Boston we have the most excited and energetic fans. It’s also been a few since we have visited Austin and Denver. I’m looking forward to returning to hang with those fans.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live experience when you’re here, headlining World Café Live?
Kinsey: We have been writing music together for almost a decade. With this record we really felt like it was important to put down music that we would have a blast playing live. This show is going to be the biggest most energetic show that you have seen from us and we are so excited to throw it down for you.
Izzy: For that matter, do you have a particular type of setting that you most like to play? Your music lends itself to lots of different kinds of venues. The last time I saw you was at Boot & Saddle, which is essentially a punk dive bar, while World Café Live is definitely more of a listening room/dinner theatre space. Do you prefer one to the other, or does it all depend on your mood that particular night?
Kinsey: We don’t like playing to seated audiences, it’s really hard to pull energy from people when they are seated and relaxed. So, Philly, if this venue is seated, we welcome you to stand and to come to the front. We need you!
Izzy: I was so excited to see that you’re playing a bunch of these dates with Valley Queen, who are another one of my favorite bands. How did that pairing come about? Were you previously fans of the band?
Kinsey: We have been friends and fans of Valley Queen for about as long as we have been a band. You could say that we’ve all gone through music puberty together and are some of each other’s truest musical sharpening stones. A couple of members from the Reeds went to college with some of the VQ members, so we have truly seen each other grow over the years. We are thrilled to share the stage with them.
Izzy: Finally, what are you most excited about in the second half of 2019? What are you hoping and planning for after these dates wrap in June?
Kinsey: We are ready to keep touring. We have a couple festivals this summer and are planning our first trip across the pond later this year.