By Eva Barrows
Kick your heels up on the ottoman, settle into the couch and you’re ready for a <a href=”http://www.jaegerreidmusic.com/ “>Jaeger & Reid house concert.</a> Folk duo Judi Jaeger and Bob Reid literally bring their music into people’s homes. To celebrate the release of their debut album, “From Way Up Here” they transformed the Midpen Media Center set into a living room for their live studio concert. Their friends, fans and Media Center staff got to experience Jaeger & Reid’s soulful sound first hand.
Jaeger & Reid book a lot of house concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area and travel intermittently across the country. “What I’m really passionate about is having people re-claim their musical experiences by just bringing people into their own home,” says Reid. The duo plays to intimate audiences of 30 to 40 people where everyone can enjoy the music in a comfortable setting.
Jaeger likes the fact that people are more likely to participate and sing along in a home setting than if they were at a bar. “It’s just more satisfying because people are there because they want to hear the music. We’re there because we want to share what we do. It’s just good for everybody,” she says.
Their new album “From Way Up Here” features original music and classic folk songs. High audio quality and additional musicians playing on the album gave extra color and texture to the duo’s music. Jaeger & Reid fans buy the album at house concert performances. “People have been telling us that they listen to it all of the time and love it,” says Jaeger.
Meeting for the first time in 2015 at a summer music camp, Jaeger and Reid found that they were a musical match. They both play guitar, Jaeger has a passion for the ukulele and Reid for the accordion. Together they craft new songs.
“He’ll be playing the guitar progression and I’ll say ‘Okay keep going, keep playing that over and over again I’ve got an idea.’” says Jaeger. “It just speaks something to me and I’ll come up with some lyrics and we’ll have a first verse or chorus.”
Both grew up in musical homes where folk music was a part of life. Folk music, Reid says, is music that you make yourself. The clear melody and stories conveyed through folk music are qualities that draw the duo to it.
Reid’s family owned a record store in Berkeley while he was growing up in the 1960s. “My dad asked me what I wanted to be and I told him I wanted to be a baseball player who sang in the off season,” he jokes.
Jaeger sang and played guitar when she was young but stopped when she went to college. After the death of her mother Jaeger tried songwriting as an outlet for her grief. “I decided that I would channel that sadness into a creative outlet,” she says. “So I wrote a song about that experience and about my mother. It was the first song I wrote, I’d never done that before. It was a catalyst, a life changer so to speak.”
Capturing the house concert feel of a Jaeger & Reid performance, the Midpen Media Center album release show was a success. Jaeger learned how to be a television producer and worked with Production Manager, Karen Adams to create the homey set environment. Jaeger & Reid were joined by their musician friends who played on the album.
“The comments after from people who were in the audience were so positive. They loved the whole concept of it,” says Jaeger.
Already at work on their next album, Jaeger & Reid enjoy creating and performing music together. “It’s the best music of my life and that’s saying a lot,” says Reid. “I’ve made good music before but this is so vibrant with so much range promised. There’s so much we can do that we haven’t even explored yet. You can’t ask for much more than that.”