More from the Media

Saturday November 15, 2008

The Telegram had an article on General Rick Hillier. Here is an excerpt from that:

"What are five CDs in your music collection?

Let me just go through songs here. I love "Willie McBride" by Lori Anna Reid. And that's one of my very favourites, and every time we are around Lori Anna - she is an incredible singer - she has to sing that song to me. John McDermot's "Danny Boy." We saw John at (a recent) hockey game in Toronto. My wife refuses to let him leave when he is around unless he sings "Danny Boy." Johnny Cash "Man in Black" and "Ring of Fire. "George Canyon's "Ring of Fire." And anything that Charlotte Church sings..."

For full story see (Saturday, November 15, 2008, story by Steve Bartlett)

June 6, 2008

Special place for sacred space

Lori Anna Reid likes to sing in intimate surroundings


By Rob Antle, St.John's Telegram

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Lest she forget
Moved by father's work as a medic and Remembrance Day assemblies at school, burgeoning singer wants songs to be heard
By Steve Bartlett
A lot of people in St. John’s have never heard Lori Anna Reid’s voice, but she truly wishes they’d listen to a couple of her songs Nov. 11 “I would be honoured if The Valleys of Killbride and Willie McBride were played on Remembrance Day out of respect for our veterans and their families,” she says.
In fact, the Toronto-based singer who grew up in St. John’s and attended Prince of Wales Collegiate is so passionate about honouring war vets she provided the ex/press with copies of the songs to post on its website
In her mind, Remembrance Day is as important in Newfoundland as the fourth of July is in the U.S. Her father, Ron, was a medic in the forces and she says that might be part of the reason she is so passionate about Nov. 11. As well, memories of school assemblies involving veterans still move her.
The skeptical would be jumping to false conclusions if they think Reid is simply trying to promote herself and her songs.
That doesn’t seem to be her way. If she were in the music business for riches and fame, she probably would have walked down a different path than the one she is on.
Reid began studying classical music at Memorial University and switched to the University of Toronto, where she earned a degree in voice performance. To put herself through school, she worked full-time at a hotel. A regular guest there was Daniel Lanois. A successful and acclaimed recording artist himself, he also enjoys renown as the producer on albums by U2, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris and others.
Lori Anna Reid: maintains perspective despite singing with the likes of Bono and Emmylou Harris.
One day she looked at Lanois and said, “Hey, are you that musician? My boyfriend’s your biggest fan.” The conversation continued and he learned she was studying classical music.
A couple of years later when he was touring for his album Shine, Lanois called Reid, said he had a feeling about her and asked her to sing on two songs with him at a show in Hamilton. She accepted and was soon touring Canada, the U.S. and Europe with him.
The experiences through her involvement with Lanois have been nothing short of amazing. Included are singing background vocals on a Dublin TV show with Lanois as well as Bono and The Edge from U2, singing with Lanois and Emmylou Harris at Carnegie Hall last February, and singing The Sound of Silence with Lanois as part of a Paul Simon tribute at the Montreal Jazz Festival this past summer.
“Leonard Cohen opened the show and we closed it,” she says. “What a thrill. I can hardly believe it.”
Reid has had many amazing experiences in classical music, too. She was a member of the Elmer Iseler Singers for six years, sang mezzo soprano in the premiere of Bramwell Tovey’s Requiemat Massey Hall, and has provided vocals for various TV and film projects.
Besides her singing career, Reid works as an artist associate for World Vision. The job sees her encouraging musicians to tell audiences about helping needy children and getting financial support in return.
“It is a dream of a job a for me, truly. I find musicians with a heart and a conscience, we help children, and we help the musicians stay on the road doing what they do best. It touches me every day right to my core.”
Along similar humanitarian lines was Reid’s involvement in saving a Toronto church, which was in debt and at risk of being closed. She visited St. Stephen’s-in-the-Field one day, and started singing. A documentary filmmaker who was working on a project about saving the church overheard her. She then joined a benefit concert for the building and enlisted Lanois.
These days Reid is preparing to release a full-length CD, a follow-up to a four-song EP that came out in January. The forthcoming a capella recording is set for a spring launch and will include ballads, protest songs and some folk tunes from Newfoundland. Included are the two she wants people to hear on Remembrance Day. (She thanks poet Geraldine Rubia for the permission to record her grandfather’s song, The Valleys of Killbride.)
She is also collaborating with Prince Edward Island’s Lennie Gallant, is part of a Celtic ensemble called Fig for a Kiss and is preparing vocally for a concert with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa Dec. 22. Irish composer Frank McNamara invited her to be a soloist for the evening.
A veteran of numerous Kiwanis music festivals while growing up, it’s ironic Reid hasn’t performed in St. John’s since becoming a professional singer. She is scheduled to sing at a charitable function here in the coming months, and hopes to do a larger show to support her album.
The goal is not fame or wealth, but to use her gifts and talents for the greater good, be it with her voice, work with World Vision, the relationships she has developed, her Newfoundland ties, her education and/or her experiences.
“The ultimate would be making music, both solo and ensemble, that will be successful enough to really make a difference.”
It seems like pretty deep stuff, but Reid is sincere. She firmly believes music is powerful.
“I can only lend my voice,” she says, “serve the song, serve the moment.”
And on Remembrance Day, Reid hopes some people serve a moment with a couple of her songs.


Serendipity and grace

Things falling into place for St. John's-born singer

By Moira Baird, The Telegram

A Newfoundland singer living in Toronto calls herself the luckiest woman in the world.
It all started seven years ago with a chance meeting with internationally renowned music producer Daniel Lanois and continued in February with her singing onstage at New York's Carnegie Hall with Lanois and Emmylou Harris.

Along the way, St. John's native Lori Anna Reid also recorded a her own four-song CD, fundraised to save a historic church near Toronto's Kensington Market, and recorded solo vocals for a film.

For Reid, a thirtysomething classically trained singer, one thing just led to another.
"These things that keep happening in my life aren't things that I planned or could have imagined. Serendipity and grace have played an enormous role in my life."
Photo by Derek Frampton
She was recently in P.E.1. for the East Coast Music Awards as part of her day job as a consultant for World Vision’s artist associate program.

That recently landed job consists of signing up East Coast musicians who tell their audiences about sponsoring a child in need.  In return, those artists get financial support while on tour.

"I'm helping children and I'm helping the musicians stay on the road."

Reid met Lanois about seven years ago, when she was working full-time at the front desk of the Intercontinental Hotel to help pay her University of Toronto tuition.

Lanois was producing a record and staying at the hotel.
"Because I'm at the front desk, I talk to everybody ... and I got to know him a little bit. I kind of innocently said to him one day ... Are you that musician? My boyfriend's your biggest fan.' And he just laughed."

They got to know each other and by May 2003 Lanois had invited Reid to sing backup for a tour-stop in Hamilton, Ont., to promote his disc, Shine.

"That original concert two-song back-up turned into 20 songs and going all over the States, and singing at Central Park and all over Canada, and then later that fall :.. Amsterdam, London, Eng­land and Dublin and Brussels."

In Dublin, she met Bono and Edge of U2 and sang onstage with them.

In late 2004, Reid recorded a home-made CD as a gift for her parents, Ron and Bea.

Her father is an armed forces medic and her mother, now retired because of illness, worked as a nurse. Her parents moved to Torbay to be closer to the ocean.

Reid's collection of Newfoundland traditional songs, war songs and hymns her grandmother sang was recorded in a friend's apartment.
"I didn't have any money to go into a fancy studio — it ended up being a catalyst for a bunch of wonderful things."

Among those things was meeting Ruth Douglas, who is now her manager.

Around Christmas time, Reid gave Douglas a copy of the CD she'd made for her parents, and three days later Douglas called asking for permission to make more copies.

One of Douglas' clients, Toronto painter and filmmaker Terry Black, was making a film of the Grand River, shot over the course of three winters.

He was looking for music to go with it.

"I did a recording session where they showed the film and I was sort of reacting to it while I was singing and the composer was just ad-libbing some piano.

"When they put it to picture, they took out all the music and just left in my singing."

Now, one of her goals is to land more work in film.

In January, Reid completed an a cappella, four-song CD entitled Songs That Won't Fall Away. It's only available via the Internet ( and was co-produced by Grand Falls native Amy King.

It includes two haunting renditions of traditional Newfoundland songs — She's Like the Swallow and The Valley of Kilbride.
"The EP is something that we're using kind of like a calling card. It's good business to have it."

Reid is aiming to release a full-length CD this spring.

"We're just looking for someone with deep, generous pockets. We're pretty close. I've got them all recorded — it's just the manufacturing of it".

Serendipity played another part in Reid's life last summer when she wandered into St. Stephen's-in-the-field, a church on the edge of Kensington Market in Toronto, Ont.

She likes to sit in empty churches and, occasionally, sing in them.

"I said, `My God, I bet the acoustics in here are just gorgeous,' so I started singing and I didn't know that there was anyone there."
Reid sang The Valley of Kilbride, a Newfoundland song about a First World War soldier dying on the battlefield.

Her audience turned out to be independent documentary filmmaker Robin Berger.; who has also worked for CBC's Journal and Fifth Estate.

"When I saw him, I started apologizing.

Later, Benger said he wanted to include Reid in a documentary called Saving St Stephen's. (The Anglican diocese there was threatening to close the church unless a $400,000 debt was paid off.) She agreed and also gave the film-maker a copy of the CD made for her parents.

"He called me and said, `My wife and I are fighting over who gets to listen to your CD.' "

Benger also asked Reid to join a benefit concert for the church.

"It's one thing to have to sell a church that's not really being used, but to sell a church that's housing three different congregations and homeless breakfasts, it's just preposterous."

She brought along Lanois to join a lineup that included Jane Siberry, Michael Ondaatje, Bruce Cockburn and Molly Johnson.
(The three St. Stephen's congregations continue to use the church on a month-to-month basis.)

Reid grew up in St. John's, went to Prince of Wales Collegiate and studied music at Memorial University. She headed for Toronto in the early '9o’s and completed a music degree at the University of Toronto.

Reid spent almost seven years with the Elmer Isler Singers, a chamber choir that tours Canada and the U.S.  These days, she performs with an a cappella trio known as Lorelei, singers Karla Ferguson and Gillian Sgecyck.

"I feel like the luckiest woman world because I live in an amazing city where I'm surrounded by people from all over the world. I've always been in the downtown core.

"I also have a home back home in Newfoundland right on the edge of a cliff in Torbay, and when I go home – I walk the Motion trail every day - that's church, that's my sacred space.

"You're really aware that the universe doesn't revolve around you. When you're surrounded by that incredible fierce beauty, you just know — think that's why Newfoundlanders are so unique."


On a song and a prayer
An unlocked door led singer Lori Anna Reid into fight to save a place of worship

Feb. 13, 2006. 01:00 AM

Lori Anna Reid has performed at that high temple of music known as Carnegie Hall but she still has a thing about small churches.

One of her favourites is Toronto's St. Stephen's-in-the-Field.

"I have a penchant for going into empty churches during the day," Reid confides. "I was walking along College St. W. one day last summer on my way to Kensington Market with a friend when I noticed this lovely, unpretentious church."

In Newfoundland, where she grew up in the 1970s, church doors were usually unlocked, and if the place was empty, so much the better. Reid loved the feeling of being alone in an empty church, where she could meditate, or sing, or just revel in the spell of holy silence.

But in Toronto, she knew, church doors are usually locked.

"It was such a pleasant surprise that the door was open. It was so beautiful in a totally unpretentious way. I was so taken with it that said to my friend, 'I'm going to sing here.' My friend went up to the balcony. The acoustics were just magical."

Reid and her friend didn't know anyone else was around, but a man popped out of a shadowy cloister. It was Robin Benger, the distinguished documentary filmmaker. He was there on his own, planning a film about the saga of St. Stephen's-in-the-Field, which the Anglican diocese was threatening to close — much to the consternation of local residents, who regard it not just as a place of worship but a priceless community resource famous for homeless breakfasts.

"The lady sang with the angels," Benger recalls. She told him she was testing the church and thinking of using it as a place where she might launch her CD. He was reminded of another golden-voiced waif from rural Canada who had come to Toronto waiting for something to happen, and began by singing in a Yorkville coffeehouse. That was four decades ago, and her name was Joni Mitchell.

Privately produced, Reid's CD was not available for public sale. She'd made it for her parents, who live in a remote village in Newfoundland, and have been coping with serious illnesses. Though Reid had studied classical music at the Royal Conservatory of Music and sung with the Elmer Iseler Singers, the material she chose for the CD consists of old Irish Newfoundland sea songs and war laments. They're the songs her father sang to her when she was a child growing up in Trinity Bay.

"I come from a place where music is at the heart of everything," Reid says. "The music I'm drawn to is all about pathos."

Benger bought a copy of the CD and found himself hooked on Reid's thrilling, pure a cappella sound — delivered in the manner of the chapel, without instrumental accompaniment.

The upshot: Reid became involved with the fight to save the church. Benger asked her to sing at a concert to save St. Stephen's — a pay-what-you-can fundraising event held at the church in September.

"She not only donated her talents but said she would bring a friend," says Benger. The friend turned out to be Daniel Lanois — one of the world's most revered music producers, and increasingly a performing artist on the global touring circuit.

Reid felt passionate about St. Stephen's not for religious reasons but because, as she puts it, "This is a place that believes in helping the poor. It has three congregations, all poor — one English-speaking, one Spanish, and one franco-Caribbean. It's love in action — and that is the heart of Christianity."

So she phoned Lanois and said: "I need you to do a freebie."

It was quite an event. There were 200 people inside the church, and 300 others watching on a monitor outside. Even the bishop turned up.

Among those performing were Bruce Cockburn, Jane Siberry and Michael Ondaatje. Those who missed the concert will be able to catch glimpses of it in Benger's film, likely to have its premiere at Hot Docs in April.

(A temporary reprieve has been granted to the church, but there is still no long-term commitment to keep it open.)

Reid, Benger discovered, has been part of the Lanois circle for the past decade. She got to know him when she was working at a hotel across the street from the music conservatory where she was studying.

Lanois regarded Reid's voice as the ideal back-up for his material, and every so often he would call and invite her to join him for a concert.

Most recently, the gig was a sold-out Carnegie Hall Concert on Feb. 3, part of the New York Guitar Festival.

This time Reid wasn't just back-up. Lanois gave her a showcase, using her vocal line in combination with trumpet player Antoine Drye in a plaintive desert number. There were no words. She used her voice as an instrument.

Asked by the Star to describe the effect, Lanois summed up Reid's appearance as "a beautiful East Coast voice in a dramatic New York setting."

One of the thrills of the evening for Reid came when she sang "The Maker" with Lanois and Reid's idol, Emmylou Harris.

And then in an emotional interlude at the end of the evening, it was just Lanois and Reid on stage alone doing a duet — "Thank You," which Lanois dedicated to his recently deceased brother. A few days later, the Cinderella weekend came to an end. Lori Anna Reid took a flight back to Toronto and a life of relative obscurity.

But the chances are that something major is about to happen — that before long, no one will be asking: "Lori Who?"

Meanwhile, she has found another church. She stumbled upon it while taking a walk in New York. It wasn't Carnegie Hall, but there was something special about it. She stepped inside with a friend and sang a few notes.

"That is the most beautiful voice I've ever heard," said a woman who turned out to be an official of the church.

"I had a premonition," Reid remarked later. "Something told me I would be coming back to sing here."

More at


Finding his Groove
Lanois and friends deliver the goods.
New York Press
Feb 4, 2006
By George Chevalier
Mega-producer (Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, U2 and Emmylou Harris, for starters) Daniel Lanois’ show at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall was a study in grooving, or the art of finding a bodacious groove and hanging in it, inhabiting it and communicating it. 
And doing it in a most familiar, well-referenced way: drummer hammering a slow, funky back beat; bass boomy, stentorian and utterly unembellished; second guitar in lock step with the rest of the rhythm section as Lanois’ lead, spiced with feedback and harmonics, played laconic parts assertively above it all. All this, appropriately enough for a show produced in partnership with the New York Guitar Festival, in guitar players’ keys—that is to say G, E, C—open string keys. If this all sounds at tad like CCR playing “Born On the Bayou” or a long version of “Suzie Q” you’re going in the right direction—there certainly was a palpable ’60s vibe to all this, more than a little enhanced by the guitars and amps: a Les Paul (Lanois’) and a Strat (Jim Wilson’s) going through a brace of a Vox Viscounts. And if that was too oblique, Lanois’ film Silvio was projected behind the band, with repeated images of ’60s suburbia, replete with woodgrain-sided Country Squires and tightly-clustered housing developments.

But CCR was intrinsically a blues band and Lanois’ band is not. Tightly-meshed three-part harmonies over rhythmic open-string chords quote different antecedents, i.e. the folk-rock of the Byrds or Buffalo Springfield.

With an Iron Butterfly rhythm section, Lanois is quite a conjurer, though—his co-production with ambient music pioneer Brian Eno of U2’s “The Joshua Tree” sold 10,000,000 copies in the U.S. alone—notwithstanding the Grammies and Grammy nominations he gained both as a producer and solo artist. He managed to keep pulling the most scrumptious rabbits out of his hat—like a Cajun chef with an unerring instinct for rescuing a dish from blandness with a judicious injection of spices. Just when it seemed the dish was perfected—and certainly the audience was delighted with it—new ingredients re-invented it. Just when we were convinced that the garage had met the swamp, the “horn” section was introduced: vocalist Lori Anna Reid—stunning and statuesque in a little black dress—and trumpetist Antoine Drye, tightly knit and ensemble in thirds, with Reid singing a horn part.

Here, on “Bella Donna”  rudimentary melodicism was forsaken, and a haunting chromaticism reared its head, evocative at times of both mariachi bands and “Miserlou.” Meanwhile Lanois managed to play a liquid and vibrant pedal steel without, somehow, making it sound country or Hawaiian.

For this most august venue there was a refreshingly ad hoc feeling to this performance—as though a popular bar band had rented the hall for the night for its legion of fans. Lanois would call directions to the players (“To the chorus!”) and confess he had just done a tune a certain way for the first time—but he is, after all, an enormously successful arranger, a calling that mandates constant altering on the mix. There also is quite a boy-next-door charm to Lanois’ stage persona, treating the audience as close old friends.
Which is the sense projected from the feelings within the band, a sense of old friends jamming for the sheer fun of it. Virtuoistic pyrotechnics were eschewed for a comfortable colloquy, no fast dazzling runs, no prima-donna vocal feats. Guitarist Wilson stayed locked in that tasty groove, keeping it simple and sweet, while bass player Marcus Blake stayed as one with the root of the chord, and did not even play the ubiquitous fifths. 

But drummer Brian Blade was transcendentally brilliant, both for appropriateness, taste and technical brilliance that even Lanois quipped, “See, that tom-tom roll alone was worth the price of admission.”

The crowd treated a guest appearance by Emmylou Harris as the Second Coming. Sure she looked stunning and has a fine voice, but she’s very much a first semester guitar player. The hot spot, though was an appearance by the incandescent and hyperkinetic dancer Carolina Cerisola, whose explosive performance sizzled like a Memphis barbecue.

In the end, a listener thinks of the KISS principle in this comfortable and familiar performance. Lanois, clearly a fertile cornucopia of themes and ideas, chose to leave the frills off and keep it simple. Reminiscent of something else from the ’60s—the Volkswagen: simple, economical, reliable, un-frilly, un-showy, and full of mystique. Also like Lanois, it serves as transportation, and will develop into a cult following in the process.


Review of original Songs that won’t Fall Away
David Spelman, Artistic Director, New York Guitar Festival

Lori Anna Reid “Songs That Won’t Fall Away” – A wonderful singer from Newfoundland, now living in Toronto. Quiet, simple, and deeply moving. A self-produced recording made for the singer’s father’s 60th birthday, so don’t expect to find this at your local Tower Records or Amazon (sorry!) The 30-minute program includes haunting and gorgeous a capella arrangements of spirituals, songs from the American Civil War, and traditional folk tunes from Newfoundland and Ireland. Lori is classically trained, but has been performing for the past few years with the great singer-songwriter/producer Daniel Lanois.

A Bono cameo on the night producer became a stage star

Evening Standard (London),  Oct 29, 2003  by John Aizlewood

The best moments - the magical opener The Maker; the mournful The Messenger and the spry Still Water - came when co-vocalist Lori Reid was given the space to feminise proceedings. Without her, Lanois, vested bassist Daryl Johnson and jazz drummer Brian Blade were more than capable of descending into masculine muso territory. Indeed, Lanois promised As Tears Roll By would be a cappella but he failed to resist the temptation to strum along. However, Jolie Louise - solely Lanois and guitar - was a delight, as was Johnson's only lead vocal, an Aaron Neville-esque take on the gospel standard Any Day Now.

The phrase "curate's egg" has rarely been more apposite.

(c)2003. Associated Newspapers Ltd.. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.