Once upon a time, before recorded music, performers like Harvey Reid lived within small, isolated communities. Friends and neighbors prized these musicians' gifts, and required their presence at weddings, funerals, and dances. Today, however, one person can produce and market his or her own CDs, allowing a musician like Reid to reach out to anyone who appreciates well-played music in a convivial sitting. Autoharp Album sounds a lot like music made by a few friends setting around the living room after the evening meal. Traditional tunes like "Southwind/Simple Gifts" are interspersed with diverse originals like "The Autoharp Polka." Reid's autoharp remains the focus of the set, but he's also joined on several tracks by violinist Joyce Andersen, who adds a little something extra to these pieces. Reid also adds vocals to four songs, including "Gathering the Harvest," and "The Flower of Loudoun County." With its focus on the autoharp, the album also offers refreshing takes on overly familiar pieces like "John Henry," "Peach Picking Time," and "Frankie and Johnny." Autoharp Album is a quiet effort, perfect for a reflective evening alone. Listeners can be happy once again that Harvey Reid's talents aren't relegated to a small Northeastern town.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.