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.
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