A corrupted file, a misplaced folder, dog-eaten homework--there’s nothing quite as excruciating as something you’ve put your mind and heart into suddenly being gone. Luke Trimble understands that pain, having walked through his front door one afternoon to find his house burglarized and all of his music gear taken--not to mention the demo tapes for his band Charlie Reed. But rather than wallow, Trimble decided to look at the positive: After years of self-sufficient music-making, he was forced to ask for help and work more collaboratively. “The physical reality of losing my stuff became this emotional metaphor for starting over in every way,” he says. The resulting album, Eddy (due in 2022 via Earth Libraries), finds Charlie Reed reaching new golden heights.
Growing up the fourth oldest in a family of ten children in Cincinnati, Trimble was well familiar with operating in big groups. However, the appeal of remaining hands on and in control of his art had always held an appeal, so Trimble entrenched himself in DIY scene upon moving to Chicago. When his previous group Uh Bones called it quits, Trimble assembled the Charlie Reed band. Where Uh Bones sat comfortably in the guitar fuzz between The Kinks and Ty Segall, Charlie Reed relies more on acoustics and George Harrison swoon. Trimble’s sterling falsetto and warm washes of guitar are bolstered in the latest iteration of the lineup by Twin Peaks’ Colin Croom on guitar and pedal steel, Divino Nino’s Justin Vittori on guitar, Nick Beaudoin on bass, Nolan Chin on piano and organ, and Nora Chin on backing vocals. To further expand the universe, the group added more drumming, violin, and viola in the studio, with engineer Andrew Humphrey assisting in the self-produced sessions.
Having spent 11 years in Chicago, Trimble has observed a lot of trends and changes in the music scene. Most recently, that meant watching the movement away from an overwhelming predominance of DIY garage rock and into something more subtle--as evidenced perfectly by the movement from Uh Bones to Charlie Reed. “It feels like we’ve moved on from the Beatles era and now it’s their solo careers,” Trimble says. “Chicago’s music scene is really one of a kind. We’re so tight-knit and it feels very inclusive.”
Much like sharing members with two of the city’s most beloved indie outfits, Trimble named his band Charlie Reed in a self-effacing, egoless move. Rather than assume it was a solo project or have too much of the attention on himself, the spotlight could be on Charlie. “I created this fake person with a certain ring to his name,” he explains. And while the lyrics’ homespun sincerity and Trimble’s charming vocals cannot be denied, the band buttresses him perfectly, the whole much greater than the sum of its parts.
Lead single “Don’t Drop Me” shows this sublime equation perfectly, sprays of wordless vocals harmonizing underneath plunking bass and a vintage AM radio guitar warmth. Croom’s dipping and diving lead guitar provides the ideal counterpoint to Trimble’s timeless tale of being left behind by a lover, the track instantly familiar and yet breezy and fresh. Opening track and followup single “Holding On” similarly walks in the aftermath of a breakup, indulging in Western slide twang guitar. But rather than pure sadness, Trimble leaves a bit of real-life uncertainty, the kind of mixed metaphor that happens in that state of shock: “Alive and well/ No mademoiselle/ To keep me here/ No one to fear.”
Elsewhere, “Your Hair Is Nice” rides on waterfalls of electric guitar and slow-burning melody, as violin swells underneath Trimble’s vocals. Pedal steel drives the rambling “Love Store Stickup”, while splashes of ecstatic cymbal from Tyler Bixby frame the golden Americana of “Too Late Mama”. Throughout, the album thrives in that sweet spot of nostalgia for something that never existed, a paradox made strangely comfortable. “I wanted the record to feel classic, familiar, but refreshing,” Trimble says. “These are melodies that will get stuck in your head in a melancholy way.”
“Throughout, the album thrives in that sweet spot of nostalgia for something that never existed, a paradox made strangely comfortable.” -Premiere of debut album Eddy - Psychedelic Baby
"A nice slice of bummed out orchestral pop" - Brooklyn Vegan
"'Don’t Drop Me' is a hazy, retro single with dreamy harmonies and captivating vocals. The guitar-driven Charlie Reed tune has sunny melodies that are sure to get you swaying." - Indie88
"A wooly groove with airy doo-wop oohs and aahs and radiant streaks of Harrison-esque electric guitar squalls." - New Commute
"With its light, Beatles-esque melody, the band shows that they’ve got the stuff to reel you in with those classic and charming elements that made rock n’ roll so popular in the first place." - V13
"This jangly indie pop number is a great debut release: it has a sound of innocence from a group made up of such seasoned musicians." - Bad Luck
"The fuzzy guitars becomes more refined, creating a warmer, George Harrison-esque acoustic ambience." - For The Record
"Soft-spoken, ballad-esque" - SPILL Magazine
"While it's a song about obsession, it's a lot more introspective than the surface level suggests." - Variance