Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Reed Brake: The local band taking Tuscaloosa by storm

Courtesy of Reed Brake

Tuscaloosa has a plethora of local bands, all varying in style and musical taste that gives the public a wide variety of different perspectives. 

Reed Brake, a four-piece band, consists of three University of Alabama students and one teacher. 

The name comes from a canebrake, a type of thicket. Justin Hart, singer and mandolin player, who teaches forest ecology and management classes at the University, explains how these plants inspired the band name. 

“In Alabama, there were these really large canebrakes that people would notice,” Hart said. “We don’t have nearly as many of them anymore, and they provide important habitat for a lot of species, including endangered species. And for some reason, in Alabama instead of calling them canebrakes or cane thickets, people call them reed brakes.” 

Jack Adams, a junior majoring in Spanish and anthropology, is the band’s guitar player and backup vocalist. He and Hart both said that their musical influences bring a sense of uniqueness. 

“We don’t really fit in any one category,” Adams said. “We’ve got, like, elements of almost, you know, country bluegrass feel.”  

Hart said something similar, pointing out the diversity within their music.  

“I think the style of music we play is somewhat unique in that we may play a song that leans more towards bluegrass, and then that song may evolve, or the next song may be different where it leans more towards a true hard rock sound,” Hart said.  

While one may assume balancing both a musical and college career would be challenging, Adams and Lucas Hales bass player and junior with an environmental science major disagree, revealing that they each manage both with little to no hassle.  

“[The band] is not terribly time-consuming,” Adams said. “It’s not like a chore or anything.”  

“We usually play Friday nights or weekends,” Hale said. “So, we don’t have too much going on. We practice some weeknights, but it’s not too bad. It’s just a nice thing to do.”  

Their debut album, “Visions and Dreams,” features 12 songs that, according to its Spotify description, were played before live audiences before being officially released. When asked about their favorite songs on the album, Adams named the fifth track, “Savage Gulf.” 

“I just love playing on it, and that’s one of the songs that we really take pretty far out with like the improv and the jamming,” Adams said. “That song can go for like 15 minutes, and we kind of trade off soloing. We’re always kind of locked in, working off each other. So that’s definitely my favorite one to play.”  

The band started in 2020, originally a duo until more members joined the group. Since its debut, the band has evolved creatively, according to Hart.  

“One way it evolved is our creative output is greater now, you know, we’re playing and writing more original songs,” Hart said. “And I think we’re much more comfortable with each other. We do a lot of improvising on stage. So, I think that we have a really good feel for what each other is going to do. It’s kind of intuitive.”  

When asked about where they see the band in the next five years, everyone had different hopes to share.  

“I hope we play more shows over a broader area,” Hart said. “So, getting outside of just Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee and expanding throughout the South and the mid-Atlantic, at least New England, just expanding playing concerts over a much larger part of the country. Playing more shows every year, and hopefully another album or more recordings coming out.”  

Adams talked about promotion for the band, saying he only hopes they’re able to keep advertising themselves. 

“We’re really trying to get our name out there right now,” Adams said. “That’s the biggest thing. So, mostly we’re doing our best to advertise, advertise ourselves through that way. It’s hard to say at this point. It’s kind of like a critical point.”  

Hales talked about the growth of the band, mentioning the potential of new members. 

 “Over the life of the band, it’s gone through a couple of different people that have been part of it,” Hale said. “So, hopefully as people graduate, we can find new people to join to carry it on.” 

 The group will be playing at The Venue, a new hangout spot not too far from campus, on Oct. 20. For more information on the group, upcoming events or its music, check out its webpage.  

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