Graham Reid | | 2 min read
In the Time Before Covid, Nadia Reid launched her exceptional Out of My Province album at a small event in the elegant Pah Homestead in Auckland.
She performed a brief but very pointed set which confirmed that here – after two previous and acclaimed albums – was an artist of rare stature who could hush a room and engage on a level of intimacy.
Her new album was extraordinary and I said as much in my Elsewhere review, and reiterated that point when I was writing for the Listener in TBC until it went the way of so many magazines earlier this year.
In my many decades I have rarely been the fanboy rushing to have my photo taken with the stars I have been interviewing (and there have been, literally, hundreds) or get albums signed.
But that night at Pah Homestead I wanted Out of My Province on vinyl so I bought two copies (one other for a friend who couldn't make it) and although Nadia had finished her meet'n' greet I was ushered into a room where she and the band were relaxing.
She didn't know me from Adam but we chatted amicably about her forthcoming tour being in jeopardy and then I asked her to sign my album in a specific manner: “To Graham (no relation)”
She laughed and she did.
Earlier this year I was approached by a publisher and asked if I would like to write a few words for the back cover of her collected lyrics. I said it would be my pleasure.
That slim volume with black'n'white photos by Liz Platova comes with a short but pointed foreword by Nick Bollinger who notes that he, as with many I suspect, had never actually read her lyrics uncoupled from the music.
But on the page “the words sing in their own way”, he says.
He also notes – as I and many other writers have – that Reid locates her lyrics in real places which he says “make the songs more than just atmospheric expressions of intangible feelings. It gives them authority”.
Reid also writes a brief introductory note and speaks of songwriting and journaling as a means of survival.
She walks us gently through her albums and how each was a stage in her development, and how she feels it a privilege to have these lyrics available in this form “and to be able to share the hard and dark and also the joy and elation of my life so far”.
There are few artists – here or overseas – whose first three albums would stand the scrutiny of their bare words on a white page, but Nadia Reid is undeniably one and this lovely, pocket-sized book is an essential companion to those albums which came without lyric sheets.
Incidentally at that Pah Homestead show my friend Russell Baillie also bought her Province album and, after me, asked her to sign it “To Russell (no relation to Graham)”.
And she did.
You gotta like an artist who is happy to be in on the joke.
By the way, she also signed my copy of her book which arrived by mail and has just been published.
CANONS: COMPLETE LYRICS 2015-2020 by NADIA REID. Slow Time Publishing $27
This book is only available from a few selected book stores such as UBS Dunedin, Relics (Dunedin), Unity in Wellington and Auckland, and at Flying Out, Auckland or from slowtimerecords.com