Thom Reed: Change it Up Charlie Founder and CBJF Performer & Committee Member


As a sixth-time Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival® (CBJF) performer and CBJF committee member, Thom Reed plays an important role in this music festival. Thom and his band, Change it Up Charlie, will be performing from 5:30 – 7 pm on Friday, June 14 on the Mount Carmel Creekside Community Stage. Want to know more about Thom? Check out his story below…

change it up charlie

How long have you been a musician?
Quite a long time! Probably about 30 years. I was about 15 years old when I picked up a bass guitar, and I have been continuing ever since. I also play some piano.

Who inspired you initially?
I’m more inspired musically. Of course bass players like Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath inspire me, but I also love horn players like Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. I love a lot of music, and I jump genres like crazy – from blues and jazz to heavy metal. My playlist is quite interesting. Lately, I’ve been really liking Florence and the Machine. Their music writing is insane.

What’s your favorite song to perform? Why?
Change It Up Charlie is known for originals, but we also play classics and make it our own. We call it Outlaw Lounge, which means we do what we want (ha!). We’ll take modern songs and make them sound old. Two new songs we’ve arranged and are playing are Billie Jean (Michael Jackson) and Nobody’s Fool (Cinderella).  But we’ll be playing mostly upbeat, original songs, but also some slow songs. We play towards the audience because what works in a bar, doesn’t always translate well to a stage.

What’s your favorite kind of music to listen to? Who are your favorite bands/ artists now?
I listen to a wide range of music, but I generally listen to jazz, blues and alternative music. On certain days, I listen to country and metal. I also listen to Davina and the Vagabonds (another CBJF artist). I was a fan before we became friends which is a little backwards! I always say as a musician, keep an open mind and your music will be better.

When was your group formed? How did the members get together?
It’s been almost 10 years since we formed the group. My guitar player and I were in another band before when the lead singer moved and we needed a replacement. Our current lead singer, Holly, stepped in and we clicked instantly. Bob, Holly and I have been playing together for the last 10 years. We have two albums together with the third in the works. You can find our music almost everywhere – iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube and Pandora under Change it Up Charlie.

If you could meet up and play with any legendary musician (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
I’ve always wanted to meet Kurt Cobain. I saw him perform live a long time ago (around 1991) when tickets were only $3! I didn’t get the chance to meet him though. I’d also love to perform with Prince. I met some of his band members, but never got the opportunity to meet him. I’m a big Prince fan and was devastated when he passed. Other than those two, I would have loved to join Duke Ellington’s band backing up Louis Armstrong.

What do you hope fans take away from your performance?
We love for the fans to get involved and feel nostalgic. We like taking songs from our childhood and make it modern and our own. We often ask the audience to name the song before we get to the chorus! It’s just about getting the audience involved. I like to entertain; bring the audience into the show and make them happy.

Where can fans learn more about you and your music (online)?
Pretty much everywhere! Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon music and Pandora.


For a complete schedule of entertainment, plus shuttle, parking  and additional information, go to Interested in scoring a complimentary weekend pass and Tshirt?  Use the #2019CBJF hashtag on social media to share or create posts about the Festival. We’ll pick 40 Jambassadors at random (before 6.14.19) to score some swag! Questions? Call 614/418-9114.

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