Tidings Café: Aaron Reed

Pleasing to the ears with a band or solo, Aaron Reed, also of the band Monk, is the latest Tidings Café feature video in-house mini-concert with his solo acoustic performance of the song "One More Time."

Reed describes his solo music as 1990s-inspired grunge with a bit of a darker feel. Solo sets like these are done as a hobby or as fun around town, with the bulk of his musical meddling coming from the band Monk and organizing Ashland's newest open mic night at Stillwater.

"It's an opportunity for everyone to get up on the phatest stage in town," said Reed of the only full-band open mic in the area, which he also hosts.

During these once-a-month open mics, Reed offers up acoustic sets similar to his Tidings Café performance and keeps a beat for other musicians on the drums.

His instrumental skills also include the guitar. He began playing the guitar at age 11 and he recalls singing Michael Jackson tunes as a child.

Reed acts as something of a manager for the local band Monk. He plays the drums, guitar and vocals for the group he describes as "a four piece reggae influenced band."

"We spend a lot of time on the road. We're stoked about our new keyboardist (Thomas Macaoidh)," Reed said.

The rest of Monk includes Kevin Conness on guitar, bass, drums and vocals and Neil Mangicaro on bass, guitar and vocals.

Music plays a part in Reed's day job, too, where he does social work with runaway and homeless youth in Ashland.

"I connect with a lot of kids through music. It's usually their outlet," he said.

Through his five years in Ashland, Reed has witnessed a decline in the venues supporting live music and calls Stillwater a beacon of light in the music scene.

There's a riff in the community between the two demographics in Ashland and the retirees seem to be more the focus of businesses, Reed said.

"I have seen an increase in people coming out. If it's not a cover band, people will come out," he said.

Upcoming events for Reed include the monthly open mic night at Stillwater on Aug.18. Monk will open for Midnite and Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. at the Historic Ashland Armory.

In the meantime Reed can be found doing his solo act in a coffee house, at a park or contributing to any of the other open mic nights in Ashland.

To see Monk's complete schedule and listen to a few tracks, visit www.myspace.com/monkablast.

The video of Aaron Reed's solo performance can be watched on the Tidings Café group page of connectashland.com and at dailytidings.com.

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