Southern Rock-inspired singer-songwriter Reid Haughton recently released his debut EP via River House Artists, available to stream/download everywhere here. The self-titled collection features eight tracks, including the previously released singles 'Day You Don’t', 'She Is', and 'Can’t Please ‘Em All'. All of the tracks were produced by Sadler Vaden (Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Morgan Wade) at Nashville’s Sound Emporium.
The Haleyville, Alabama native and Auburn University alumni has also just made his first venture overseas for a string of dates in Germany and the United Kingdom to open for Randall King where we were able to catch up with Reid in London prior to the show at Bush Hall to learn more about his artistry and first project after moving to Nashville.
So, first time here in London. “First time in Europe!”
First time in Europe! Is it the first time out of the States? “I’ve been out of the States before but only like vacation type places.”
What are your first impressions of the place? Are you liking it over here? “Yeah, I think it’s awesome. I’ve told my family that we’ve got to come back when I’m not playing so we can visit more because obviously when you are running to soundcheck and whatever, you don’t get to see as much. Honestly, today was probably the most touring around that I’ve been able to do which was great because I got to walk all over town and it was awesome. I think it’s so cool with the train travel here how you can see so much with minimal effort really, in the States you better hop in your car and drive five hours to wherever.”
Overall, the time over here seems to be going well though, is it Glasgow and Manchester that you’ve got to see so far? “Yes, it’s been incredible and I’ve been mostly blown away by the response of the people to the music, which is the main point of us being here, right? It’s just so crazy to see such good reactions to songs that I wrote in Alabama. The audiences are a lot more focused, sometimes shows back home feel more of a party environment and here, well it’s kind of the same vibe but people are looking at you. It’s less talking amongst the crowd and especially as an opener when you can actually see stuff like that.”
You mentioned that Alabama was your neck of the woods and I know you went to Auburn so, you’re a Tiger which is great because I’ve chosen to cheer War Eagle since I started following college football from when Cam Newton was the quarterback there. Looking at the map and where you are from, you grew up closer to Tuscaloosa so, was there any talk at home of you being the devil for heading there and not rolling with the tide? “Well, I’ll tell you what is crazier than that, my dad went to Bama and my mom went to Auburn but my dad is an Auburn fan. He went to Alabama because his friends were going there. It was never really a decision, I kind of thought about going to Bama for like one second but I always knew that I was going to go to Auburn and thank God that I did. I truly believe that I would never be here right now, if I wouldn’t have gone to Auburn because what I didn’t know until I went there is how Auburn had a music scene that other places didn’t so, when I got to Auburn it was perfect timing for a great music scene.”
What did you study at college? “Marketing. At first I was a pharmacy major because that was what my mom wanted me to do, then we were playing a bunch of shows and I wasn’t great at chemistry so, I thought we’re going to go for the business degree and hope that the music works out, where thankfully I’m getting paid to do it now.”
Looking at the live scene down there, was being at college when you really started playing live a lot more? “Where I grew up, it was a dry county until 2014 so, there’s no bars or anything, people would occasionally play at the Mexican restaurant. I just played in church growing up from eight grade until I graduated high school so, going to Auburn was the first time that I could go play the bars and play rock songs or whatever. Luckily Riley Green and Muscadine Bloodline had built that scene down there right as I got there before they went to Nashville and blew up.” More recently, you’ve just put an EP out which you were working on with the wonderful Mr Sadler Vaden. I always love hearing the stories of how anyone that has worked with him, first met Sadler and started working with him because it never seems to be straightforward or how things typically start in the industry. “Oh yeah, this is great. Me and my roommate had been spinning the Morgan Wade record like over and over and over. This was at the point where we had been in town for maybe about a year so, the label was like we’re getting ready to cut some songs and we had just been talking about what if Sadler produced your stuff? I thought yeah, good luck but one day I was walking through the office at River House and Lynn Cline, who owns River House and used to work at Thirty Tigers so, she knew (Jason) Isbell, Sadler and all of that group, she just leant out of her office and said hey, did you talk with Sadler? I was like no, I can’t just call him, I don’t have his number. Lynn was like OK and then the next week I was in Sadler’s house! It’s kind of funny because the first group of songs that I brought and this is what I love about him so much is that he said I’m only going to do this if I truly want to do it because I don’t want it to suck. I played him the first batch of songs and he said they were good songs but I don’t know if this is the thing and then I wrote “Day You Don’t” and “Cuttin’ Me Loose” then he said let’s do it!”
You mentioned the Morgan (Wade) record and that again was organic with Sadler, where saw her playing on the same bill as Isbell and the 400 guys, where he liked what he heard and then they made a record that was one of the real success stories for the industry in the pandemic because a lot more people heard that record and had the opportunity to give that album the time that it deserved, than if people weren’t sat at home. That 400 Unit connection must be super cool for you too. “That’s part of the coolest thing to me. He is from about forty minutes from my parents house where I grew up. I always have looked up to them so much and I love all of their music so, it’s like a crazy full circle kind of thing. I still honestly can’t believe that Sadler is a text away and he is my friend now. It’s really wild because I think the world of what they do and what he does.”
Is the EP essentially your journey to Nashville or what you have found since you first came there in terms of sound and ideas? “Oh yes, it’s definitely a big shift sound wise from the first couple of songs that I put out. In college, when I was writing those songs, we were putting those songs out to feed the fans that we had built in college and not too much thought was being put into the long term. It was like, we have written ten songs so, let’s pick the best three or whatever. When I got to Nashville, it was like OK, who do I want to be and what is true to me? Ultimately it came to a point where I was playing shows and touring some of that older music where it wasn’t what I listen to or love now. I love those songs, not taking anything away from them but the EP is much more in line with music that I grew up on and even currently love.”
This has been a blast dude. Thanks for your time, enjoy Germany and hopefully you’ll come back and see us again soon.