Helping communities across the state connect their heritage arts and traditions to local development, education, and active citizenship
Henderson, Vance County, NC
“A lot of people own guitars,” laughs Henderson native Wayne Reid. “But everyone that owns a guitar is not a musician.” A veteran of the European country music circuit—he played guitar for 28 Grand Ole Opry tours between 1968 and 1972—Reid understands what being a musician demands.
“I heard this guy who used to play on a show over in Raleigh; he was backing up singers on the guitar, and I thought that was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard.”
Wayne Reid acquired his first guitar in 1952 at the age of 15, inspired by the likes of Chet Atkins and Leon Rhodes. “I had a friend who bought a guitar,” he remembers, “and nothing would come out right, so he tore the strings off and sold it to me for a dollar a week—I paid nine dollars total. That's how I started.”
Reid eventually scored a regular gig on Henderson’s WHBH. “On Friday nights, we had a jamboree in uptown Henderson at the Stevenson Theatre, which was recorded and played back on the radio on Saturday morning,” Reid explains. “That was pretty much all I was doing until I was drafted into the Army one month before I turned 26.”
Reid’s military service provided his point of entry into the floorshows in Germany, Holland, and Italy. “I met this guy that was a retired sergeant,” he recalls. “He ran an agency, and he had about seven country bands that played all the military bases. I started playing for him.” Following his overseas stint—during which time he played for stars such as Bobby Bare and Barbara Mandrell—Reid returned to North Carolina, where he played on the WDVA Jamboree and the Jim Thornton Show in Durham.
In the 1980s, Reid turned his focus to his family and career outside of music. He still plays guitar with local bands, and can frequently be found onstage at Dee’s Music Barn in Creedmoor on Saturday nights. He continues to draw on the lessons he learned as a touring musician. “There's something very unusual about people who play country music,” he explains. “They're a very unique bunch of people. Listeners think country music sounds so simple that anybody can play it, but they can’t. It's a very specialized music."
Will consider all engagements; prefers to put together a band of his choosing.