At the age of 4, Chris Reardon picked up an out of tune, second hand acoustic guitar that was collecting dust in the far corner of his parents living room and started pounding on it until he heard something like musical notes. These were the first, not so tentative steps down “the long and winding road” that leads us to a performance by David Cook on American Idol, May 2nd, 2013. It all started with the Beatles in those early years and they continue to be the divine spark at the heart of all Chris’ musical endeavors to this day. Throughout his highschool and college years he was a sponge, absorbing any song by any band of any style that featured one indelible hallmark: bulletproof melody. From vinyl to c.d. to mp3, from Stevie Wonder to Neil Young, Cheap Trick to U2, Radiohead to Foo Fighters and all the way to Cee-lo or Adele. It’s always been there, that melody. Grounding everything. Pushing through the false boundaries of genre and fashion, defying categorization and delivering chills. Although the incarnations have been many and varied, Chris has been writing, producing and performing every step of the way down that road.
At 18, Chris began grinding it out at the sweaty, smoke filled dives and basement beer bashes of his college days at Va. Tech. This would serve as the proving ground for a life spent in vans and sometimes tour buses that was to characterize the next twenty years. After honing his songcraft and performance chops (guitar/bass/vocals) for almost a decade, none other than entertainment mogul and music industry legend, Dick Clark took notice picking Chris’ band to be 1 of the 5 finalists in a nationwide talent search with thousands of hopefuls. Dick Clark’s Battle of the Bands aired on ABC in prime time, and although they didn’t win, their performance attracted the attention of Joan Jett’s indie label, Blackheart Records, marking Chris’ first national release as a recording artist. It was a starting point, and the single, “Atlas” by Red Henry enjoyed regional success across the midwest.
A few years down the road, with some hard lessons learned, it was time to go from indie to major. Chris hooked up with fellow east coast club veteran and songsmith, Andy Waldeck to form Earth To Andy. Due to their bombastic live shows and undeniable pop hooks backed up with a thunderous post-grunge wallop, the band was quickly scooped up by Red Light, Dave Mathews’ management firm. The pieces were now in place and Earth To Andy soon signed with Warner Bros., releasing the critically acclaimed “Chronicle Kings”, helmed by super-producer Nick Launay (Talking Heads, Sting, Eric Clapton, INXS and Silverchair, to name a few). During the recording, the band was shocked to receive a call from the label informing them that newly converted ETA fan, Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots) would like to join them in the studio and perhaps even contribute some of his vast talents to the cause, which he did (Chris would later co-write several new songs with Robert and Andy). He then worked side by side with master mixer, Chris Lord Alge to finalize the record. The first single from “Chronicle Kings” received solid airplay on modern rock radio and was featured on the hit tv shows “Beverly Hills 90210″ and “Charmed” but alas, the stars did not align for the band. Though the record didn’t break through, it did earn Chris and the boys some quite illustrious supporters including Chris Daughtry, Emerson Hart (Tonic) and Mike Meadows (Taylor Swift), all of which Chris has since had the pleasure of working with on new material.
Down the next stretch of the road, Chris would expand his stylistic horizons, recording and touring with a host of different artists of varying genres. First there was Getaway Car, DC’s finest purveyors of power pop who would be chosen by the legendary alt-rock giant, WHFS to headline the outside stage at their annual mega-concert, the HFStival. Chris has collaborated on many songs over the years with Getaway Car’s Todd Wright and recently their song with Cassidy Ford, “You’ve Got This Hold On Me” was prominently featured on several episodes of Nick At Night’s hit show, “Hollywood Heights”. Next, Chris joined up with Atlantic recording artist Lucy Woodward which would be his first foray into the world of Top 40 pop. Touring with Lucy was an eye opener for the already well-traveled east coast native, and would find him jetting off to the far corners of the globe, including Japan and New Zealand. Dipping into that world introduced the long time rocker to a whole new universe of sound production. But it would be back to the meat and potatoes for Chris’ next gig. He spent the ensuing 4 years touring relentlessly with Americana/ Alt. Rock live power house, The Pat McGee Band (Warners), along the way contributing bass and backing vocals to 3 albums: “Save Me”, “Vintage Stages Live” and “These Days”. The band was known for pushing the envelope in their live sets, expanding and morphing the music on a nightly basis so that the audience would never see the same show twice.
That just about brings us to where we find Chris today. He’s come off the road (for now) and in the last several years has been holed up in the studio, concentrating exclusively on writing and producing, everything from Country to Neo-Soul. Andy Waldeck (Daughtry/ Sony ATV) has remained a close friend and frequent song writing partner ever since the Earth To Andy days and in February of ’13 they flew to Nashville to work with American Idol winner, David Cook. David was looking for reinvention– he came to the right place. The trio composed 4 stellar new songs together but one track quickly stood out from the pack: “Laying Me Low”. It immediately started turning heads at record labels, publishing houses and management. Consequently, David chose to release the song as his new single with Chris garnering both producing and co-writing credits. Again Chris teamed up with Lord-Alge to sort out the mix, only this time it was brother Tom. As mix engineers go, the brothers Lord-Alge are without peer. As one of Idol’s former winners (elite company to be sure), David was asked to return to the show and perform near the close of season 12. What better way to kick off the release of “Laying Me Low”?
So we continue down “the long and winding road”. Chris has seen and done just about everything the music industry can throw at a person and he’s taken his lumps, no doubt. There have been scintillating highs and of course some soul crushing lows as well. Such is the business he’s chosen. But above all else, Chris remains an artist on the move. He writes every day and is always looking forward to the next set of hairpin turns, or better yet, a steep hill to fly over and catch massive air. Door’s open, climb on in.