A Little Bit of Christmas Magic on Main Street

by | Dec 22, 2019

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The Sliding Capos made a Christmas appearance Wednesday night but their show at the Greenwich Hotel had more than the usual festive holiday feel. It had a family feel. In particular, the Reed family. The three Reed brothers – Tom, Dick and George – performed together for the very first time. 

“Now that we’re all in our 60s, it was about time,” said Dick later. The six Reed children grew up on LIberty Street, the children of Emma and Joe. Tom and Dick Reed have been playing together off and on since 1968, when their band, the State of Mind competed in the “Battle of the Bands,” in the St. Luke’s parking lot as young teenagers

The Sliding Capos is Hub Brennan’s reincarnation of his brother John’s band (J.B. and the Sliding Capos). John died in 2013 and recently Hub (a.k.a. Dr. Brennan) decided to start the band up again, playing at different venues around town, with Gary Brisco on lead vocals, Tom Chabot on drums, Tom Reed on bass and, sometimes, Dick Reed on percussion.

George Reed, a community theater aficionado who performed Elvis concerts back in his high school days, asked his brothers if he could sing a couple of Elvis songs when The Sliding Capos played in December. The band readily agreed. 

By 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the bar at the Greenwich Hotel was overflowing with patrons, including George’s daughter, Grace (a sophomore at Brown), Reed sisters Nancy Reed and Bertie Ducker, and, niece Katie Gallogly Lowell. (One missing angel: sister Marilyn Reed, who died in 2014. Boy, would she have loved it!) The scene was set and the mood was joyful. But George, who has had some health challenges of late, wasn’t feeling well. He told his brothers he couldn’t do it. 

It turns out, however, some people won’t take no for an answer. 

“I tried to tell Hub – he’s my doctor and I thought he’d go along with me,” George recalled later. “He looked at me and said, ‘You can do this!’”

Sure enough, Hub was right. George took his place behind the microphone, opened his mouth and a rich baritone came out strong and true. See for yourself in the video below (my apologies for the shakiness at the beginning .. it gets better).

The audience went crazy! Hub said he wasn’t surprised. “It was an East Greenwich moment,” he said afterwards. “My dad used to say East Greenwich people always take care of East Greenwich people.”

The 2019 edition of The Sliding Capos started without big plans, but the reception for their music has been so positive, Hub said, they’re playing every six weeks or so. So far, locally, they’ve played everywhere from Finn’s Harborside and The Oaks to Besos and Safehouse. In 2020, they hope to broaden their horizons. Hub said he’s looking into playing venues in Providence and Boston. But don’t fret – they will always be an EG band.

Dick, George and Tom Reed.

The Reeds: Nancy, Dick, Tom, Bertie, George, Katie and Grace.


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12 Comments

  1. Bob

    Such a great setting great job George and friends!

    Reply
  2. David Henry

    What a hoot. How I wish I had been there.

    Reply
    • Elizabeth McNamara

      I heard tell YOU were the one behind the Battle of the Bands, David. I’d love to chat sometime. You can reach me at [email protected]. Merry Christmas!

      Reply
  3. Kim Balkcom

    Two thumbs up on that performance! Wish we were there… Merry Christmas to you, Grace and the rest of your family, George!

    Reply
  4. Peter Cronin

    Watching the amazing Reed boys in this video was the best Christmas present I’m gonna get for sure! Proud to be from EG and grateful to have all the Reeds in my life! Thanks for this!

    Reply
  5. Jay

    Was fortunate enough to have witnessed the gathering of The Reeds!!

    Reply
  6. Coleen & Isabella Riley and with utmost love always Fran Riley too!

    OMG! I was just thinking about the Reeds yesterday! To the Reed family the Merriest of Christmases from THE RILEY Girlz!
    I can not wait to go hear you play!
    🤗❤

    Reply
  7. Heidi Russell Duggan

    Well, that was a treat! Thank you for sharing and the entertainment, and Merry Christmas to all!

    Reply
  8. Betty Brennan

    What a trip! Loved this so much. Go George! Merry to All….

    Reply
  9. Alan Clarke

    I can’t believe I heard about this event the following morning for I surely would have been there for that. Sorry to see George feeling poorly but he came through. I watched his foot for timing and he was spot on… and after he got into it, go George! Dragging a link to this YouTube video to my desktop so I can play it often.
    Great band! My best to all of you in the band and audience for a great holiday and I look forward to seeing this group of old friends play again next time if I hear about it BEFORE it happens rather than after. Cheers to all.

    Reply
  10. Caleb Dean Hawkins

    Thank you all for your kind comments. The SLIDING CAPOS will perform at SAFEHOUSE MODERN NEIGHBORHOOD EATERY on January 31st at 8pm. Please join us. Every show is a reunion!

    Reply
  11. MaryAnne Gorman Carpenter

    Sounds great….so sorry to have missed this. Looking for first cousins Reeds. Maiden name is Gorman (MaryAnne) grew up on Prospect Street and we were close in younger years. If I have found the family contact me through [email protected]. Thanks with fingers crossed!

    Reply

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