Wildwood is now home stage to nationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Reed Waddle. What brings this Telluride Troubador Contest grand prize winner to Cape May County?
“It’s an interesting story,” starts Reed. His father worked as a fisherman stationed out of Virginia throughout the 70s. One of the boats he worked on, called “The Holly Murphy”, actually sank off the coast of Cape May on one of its attempted trips. His father, also a talented singer/songwriter, poured his memories of this sinking into his original song titled “The Holly Murphy” and Reed has wanted to experience the scene of his father’s Cape May encounter ever since. When he heard word of a songwriting competition set at the Inn of Cape May two years ago, Reed states that although the drive from Boston would be long and he knew the crowd would not be huge, “something was telling me to just go”.
After his performance, Reed was approached by Wildwood local Mike McDonald. After a few drinks, the two made an instant connection. Mike hired Reed to play his charity events and truly believed in the aspiring artist’s talent. Mike has been an active supporter of Reed’s career ever since and has virtually adopted him. Reed decided to take advantage of a few opportunities Mike lined up for him this summer and made the move to the island. Cape May County visitors and locals are truly in luck.
A native of Destin, Florida, Waddle began playing in bands with friends when he was in high school. A friend asked him to fill in as a band member in a local battle of the bands and Reed was chosen to sing background vocals. It wasn’t until this public performance that Reed had considered singing as an option for him. “You can sing pretty well,” stated his mother, and for Reed, this was all the encouragement necessary.
He attended the University of Florida at Gainesville where he continued to play and hone his vocal, guitar, and songwriting skills. Reed eventually found himself back in his hometown of Destin. “It was nice to be a big fish in a small pond, but I wanted to venture out and see how I stacked up against people I didn’t know.” Reed Waddle packed his possessions and guitar and set out for bigger and better things.
Reed moved from the “safety” of his hometown on the beaches of the Florida Gulf coast to the north Atlantic shores of Boston in hopes of a career breakthrough. After two years of touring New England and a fateful meeting with an owner of a small New York record label, he once again packed up his life and moved to the Big Apple in April of last year. He quickly found an ally in British producer lestyn Polson, most famous for his work with David Gray and David Bowie.
Very soon Waddle and his producers were at work editing and rehearsing with a band of handpicked veterans of the NYC music scene. In late May of 2011, they began recording. The result – Waddle’s “Creatures of the Heart” album – reached number 22 on the I-Tunes Singer Songwriter charts prior to his national tour opening for NBC’s The Voice winner Javier Colon in March of 2012.
Reed has opened for or appeared on stage with Hall and Oates, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Shawn Colvin, The Indigo Girls, Mat Kearney, The All American Rejects, The Punch Brothers, Glen Hansard, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, Tim Reynolds (Dave Matthews Band), Vienna Teng, Liz Longley, The Whalers and many others.
This summer season, do not miss a chance to watch this up and coming award-winning performer live at some of Cape May County’s favorite local spots. The Deck, The Oceanic, and Mulligan’s are just a few Wildwood venues proudly featuring Reed Waddle’s original tracks and covers. Be sure to check out “Creatures of the Heart”, now available on iTunes. For more information on Reed’s performance schedule, visit his website at www.reedwaddle.com.
By Megan Kummer