James Reid Band

From Milkweed to Breakfast at Sunset

In 1970, to the horror of their parents, a certain pack of motley long-hairs suspended their Ivy League educations and headed to the deep South to play their original country/soft/rock music as the band Milkweed.

The next two years were filled with musical and personal adventures, including playing with the Allman Brothers Band, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, and others. The band separated amicably in 1972 to return to school, and each went on to productive individual lives. Several band members had successful musical careers. Jim and Reid pursued other interests and remained out of touch for 42 years.

Orcas Islander and Milkweed musician Jim Connell told this story often to local friends. One of them decided to see if there was truth to the tale. Amazingly, on Christmas night of 2013, that friend found “Granma Country” on iTunes, a song from the band’s first album that foundered in 1972 under the Motown label. Reid had posted it there just weeks before.

Jim was overwhelmed to hear the old familiar tune again and spent the next day searching the Web for Reid, ultimately finding him in North Carolina. Dozens of emails and calls led eventually to a reunion of the original band, now-sixty-somethings, on Orcas Island in 2015. A new CD Breakfast at Sunset was the result and included an array of local talent—Martin Lund, Gene Nery, Tony Morales, Grace McCune, the Turtleback Brass, and more. The band came together again from across the US this past summer of 2018 to play for thousands of NASCAR fans at Beaver Lick, Kentucky.

Tales Tall & Tender, a benefit concert for Recovery in Community, is a lively reflection on the entire 48-year band’s history—original music that tells stories from both chapters of Jim and Reid’s musical friendship. Songs from the early 70s speak of their lives as hippie musicians during an unforgettable American era, about the characters they met, about young men’s fears and dreams. New songs bring listeners into the room for musical conversations between old friends about aging, love, loss, and renewal.

Musical styles reflect influences from folk, country, rock, classical, and jazz. The songs will bring smiles and tears, inspire memories, and create an irresistible urge to sing and dance in the aisles.

Breakfast At Sunset has received national recognition. The Tales Tall and Tender concert will include songs from that recording and a soon-to-be-released CD, also recorded on Orcas Island.

The James Reid Band musicians include Orcas resident composer Jim Connell and his songwriting partner Reid Spencer, along with Mat Kastner of Connecticut, accomplished country and rock guitarist from the original band, Orcas’ own brilliant multi-instrumentalist Martin Lund, and Seattle’s Brian “Captain” Kirk of Pointer Sisters and One World Festival fame. They will be joined by outstanding players from Orcas Island and far points east.