Music Man

With more than 20 years of music performance under his belt, Tim Reed is no stranger to the local, area and regional music scene.

The Panama resident has offered his vocals and bass-playing abilities to several bands through the years before settling in with his current project, the Erie-based country rock outfit Refuge. The following is a brief transcription of an interview between Reed and The Post-Journal regarding his extensive music career and its many highlights:

P-J: How long have you been playing music in a band setting and what inspired you to start?

Reed: I started getting into playing music with a band in ’93 when I was in high school at Panama. My music teacher was Steve Swanson, and he sort of steered me in that direction. I had another substitute teacher in high school I grew up with that got me involved with my first band, Fifth Element, and things just continued from there; but Steve Swanson, in particular, got me into music first. I started out playing piano; I took piano lessons with Steve and that’s when my other friend got me into the band. He needed a bass player so I just kind of went in that direction out of necessity and the rest is history.

P-J: How many projects would you say you’ve been involved in, and do you have a favorite?

Reed: All of them have always been good projects. I’ve been blessed over the years to play with guys who have been really good at what they do. The bands I’ve played with include: Fifth Element, I was with them for four years; Willow Creek for 12 years; Bone Dog Daddies for five years; then I played with a band called Lareau and I’m on their album they put out; then I went on to join Refuge a little over three years ago. In the meantime, I had a short stint with the Haybalers playing bluegrass and I’ve also started playing with Splitfoot. Most recently, I’ve been doing an acoustic duo with Cody Willett a couple months ago called Cody and Tim.

P-J: Do you have any favorite venues or memories from your time playing out that you’d like to share?

Reed: I’ve opened up for about 12 national acts – including Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean and Chris Cagle – with a number of bands. I’d say my favorite venues are: the Cattaraugus County fair, which is where I opened for Jason Aldean; Shawbucks; and lots of venues in Erie, Pa., because that’s mostly where Refuge plays.

P-J: Refuge seems to have amassed a pretty large following. To what do you attribute that kind of success and what is the most enjoyable aspect of being in this current project?

Reed: I joined Refuge about three years ago because they needed a bass player and I was available; but they were already established and playing out by that time. I think the reason we’ve been so successful is because we always put on a show; the kind of show you’d expect to see in a 20,000-seat arena. We try to entertain and put on a show. I kind of consider myself an entertainer almost more than a musician, because I consider myself as just an average bass player but when you do other things like sing it opens more doors for you. You can entertain and cover more bases in a band that way. Plus, professionalism is super important. I like the camaraderie of the band. You become family with your band because you spend more time with them than some of your actual family. I love that part of it; that’s the way it should be and I’ve always been fortunate to have that. I’ve never been in a band that had any real issues, and I’ve always played with good musicians that were really cool guys. A lot of them taught me how to act and they set an example for me. I’ve also got to produce actual music videos with Refuge, which kind of opened my eyes to a whole different side of music performance.

P-J: Do you have any future goals or ambitions in regard to your music career, or is it more or less about maintaining the status quo and having a good time?

Reed: If nothing more ever happened and I had to quit playing music today I wouldn’t change a thing about my career. I know lots of musicians and I’ve heard stories about how bands can be and I’ve been super fortunate. And I’ve always been blessed to have played with a popular band that’s good. I’ve really had it good and I think I became a better musician because of that.

Refuge’s next show will be Saturday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Oasis Pub, 3122 W. Lake Road in Erie, Pa., after which the band will take a brief break before resuming its gigging schedule in June.

Music videos of the band can be found on YouTube at youtube.com/watch?v=K-9bU-Ppp00 (“Northern Town”) and youtube.com/watch?v=QjQfjcpirkE (“Tor Up”).