Atlanta born Deborah Reece was raised in Columbia, S.C. before moving back to the Atlanta area for high school at Clarkston, then on to Athens and UGA, where she earned her BA in English. Reece got her start in radio at campus station WUOG, later working for the venerable Clarke Broadcasting, WGAU/WNCG Athens under the leadership of the late, great H. Randolph Holder. Her father and maternal grandfather showed musical talent. Otherwise Reece was not from a particularly musical family. An older brother bringing in Beatle albums, and the discovery of Joni Mitchell, among other artists, sparked her passion for music and need to sing.
During the Athens years, Reece sang in several bands, notably Plat Eye Blue, and spent nearly a decade as a backing vocalist in The Randall Bramblett Band. “When the day comes my life flashes before my eyes, singing R&B with the great players of Plat Eye Blue, and being on stage with Randall, Davis Causey and the band, will be among my fondest memories. They’re just brilliant, world-class musicians. It was an exhilarating experience I was fortunate to be a part of, and I occasionally still get a chance to sing with Randall. I love it.”
Over the years, Reece worked with Athens producer John Keane, notably on a Ralph Roddenberry record produced by Bill Berry. She recorded with Plat Eye Blue, working with late, great producer Mark Richardson, recorded with The Randall Bramblett Band on VISIONARY SCHOOL and SEE THROUGH ME, and has sung back-up with Diane Durrett, Terry Flynn and Deep Blue Sun.
A highlight for Reece was singing with Darryl Rhoades for the Hahavishnu Celebration show of Sept. 2009, at Variety Playhouse. “It was 6 weeks of intense rehearsal. I’ve never felt more alive. Music AND comedy. Total happiness!! We had a blast for all time. Darryl Rhodes is just the best – as a musician, as a comedian, as a friend. Check his stand-up comedy touring schedule @ www.music-comedy.com and catch him live. You must! We likely won’t reprise the Hahavishnu show, but Darryl may unleash the DVD at a time when the world needs it most…. Stand by…”
Reece’s band, THE ROOSTERS, was founded by Atlanta music man Guy Goodman to honor his longtime friend, the aforementioned Mark Richardson, a.k.a. “Rooster”. Guy had worked for Atlanta band HYDRA back in the ‘70’s and never forgot the seismic synthesis that occurred when Spencer Kirkpatrick (guitar) and Steve Pace (drums) played together. Goodman and Reece split vocal duties for the band’s rare appearances, likening the experience to being “sparrows in a hurricane”, engulfed by the improvisational power of Spencer and Steve. “The experience has made me a better singer”, says Reece. “When these guys asked if I could sing Steve Marriott, I said ‘sure’, really having no idea if I could pull off 30 DAYS IN THE HOLE. Hell, I learned to sing with Joni Mitchell records. Surprising what you can do when there’s a freight train behind you!” The band is currently in rehearsal and planning future gigs, with Dave Condra on bass.
Back to the simulcast: Reece’s radio career brought her to the Cox stations at WSB Atlanta, when ownership of her Athens stations changed hands years ago. Starting out as a utility person, board-oping WSB and filling in on-air for the FM music stations, Reece landed in Team Clark Howard 13 years ago, and that privileged duty comprises about half of her work for Cox Media. Reece writes, voices and produces teases for the show, and takes care of other production tasks. She is the fill-in jock on B98.5FM. As of June 17, 2012, Deborah Reece hosts a new show on 97.1The River, Atlanta, called The DEEP RIVER MUSIC VAULT. The show is truly ‘radio the way you remember’. “We’re responding to our listeners wanting to hear a deeper variety of classic hits and classic rock”. Aforementioned Rooster, Guy Goodman is Reece’s co-producer for the Vault show, as in life. The couple has been together many years, some spent in the independent record store business in Auburn, AL and in Athens, GA. That experience, plus his own work as a musician, and the fact that he’s seen every great music show minus Otis Redding and the Doors, makes Guy a key asset to The DEEP RIVER MUSIC VAULT.
Says Reece, “Guy’s encyclopedic knowledge of classic rock – he lived it, adds incredible dimension to the show. We’re all DJ’s and everybody wants to program radio. Now technology lets people do just that. What a wonderful surprise to have an opportunity to do an old school show like this on terrestrial radio. We’re introducing some obscure songs many have never heard, bringing back forgotten gems, flash forwarding to recent work by classic artists, and pretty much blowing our own minds by what we get to play… like we do at home on our quaint analogue McIntosh tube-powered sound system. The response has been great. This is kind of too good to be true, which makes me a tad uneasy. In any case, we’re loving the ride and working to make it last. There’s no shortage of material, and you never know what you’ll hear. Sundays, 8 to 10pm, it’s Deep. And in the words of the great Darryl Rhoades, ‘It’s all for the kids.’ ”
Meanwhile, while you’re on hold with a medical facility, you might hear this singer/DJ’s dulcet tones invoking National Immunization Month on the phone, or talking furniture on TV. Reece laments, “People ask me how to get into voiceover work and honestly, I don’t know. There’s no clear path it seems. Just a few things have come my way over the years by virtue of being in radio. It’s an ongoing and extremely competitive pursuit, but doable if you work it full-time. I’ve had to keep the day job, while always looking for freelance voice work as much as possible. “
For the 3rd show of The DEEP RIVER MUSIC VAULT on July 1st, Reece & Guy had legendary concert promoter Alex Cooley on the air, and devoted hour 1 to The Atlanta International Pop Festival of July 4th & 5th, 1969 at the Atlanta International Raceway in Hampton, GA, and the 2nd hour to The 2nd Atlanta International Pop Festival, July 3rd, 4th & 5th, 1970 at the Middle Georgia Raceway, Byron, GA. Guy Grande (Goodman’s radio name) was in attendance at both festivals back in the day, at a very impressionable age. “That”, Reece surmises, “explains a lot…. All good of course!”. Now the radio producing couple is planning shows to celebrate 3 events: The Beatles playing Fulton County Stadium in 1965 (Rooster guitarist, Spencer Kirkpatrick was in the opening band), Woodstock, and the upcoming Capricorn show at Chastain on September 14th, with Chuck Leavell & The Randall Bramblett Band, Wet Willie, Cowboy, Col. Bruce Hampton and others. “So our Sunday, Sept. 9th show will feature Capricorn artists, and we’ll try to have Randall and the Col. in with us live. How is this possible? ”, Reece says, incredulous, happy. Sometimes, the years give back. And there’s a song in that.
Listen live and join the River’s Facebook page from here:
The DEEP RIVER MUSIC VAULT Facebook Event page
Reece’s website in deep need of an update: www.ReeceVox.com