Home Spun

Home Spun

Emy Reynolds Band

By Kelly McCartney 08/22/2013

Staying close to home
Ojai’s fertile ground is legendary in agriculture circles thanks to its abundance of oranges and avocados. But Ojai consistently yields another fruit — great talent, both homegrown and transplanted. The Emy Reynolds Band falls into the former category with the group’s namesake claiming native status. And “native” is not an overstatement. Reynolds is a Nordhoff High School and CSUCI alum, and the heart of the band started beating right there in Ojai: “Piper [Denney] and I have been playing together for six years as the core, and we met at the Ojai Battle of the Bands Food for Thought show.” So what is it about Ojai that has kept Reynolds rooted? “I love how beautiful it is: the hiking, the weather and the silence. Being surrounded by creative people all the time is great, too. I love that everyone cares about keeping it clean, recycling and supporting local food. It also helps that the location is really ideal for travel back and forth from L.A.,” Reynolds observed.

Striking a balance
Indeed, the balance that Ojai strikes between bountiful beauty and professional proximity figures heavily into the equation for most of its residents. It’s no different for Reynolds and her creative process. “Being close to L.A., but also far enough away to escape the madness, is helpful. It’s easy to write when you are surrounded by gorgeous trees and mountains all the time.” The thriving local music scene in Ventura County is another plus. Reynolds added that she and her bandmates “try to go out and see local music weekly. The Deer Lodge and Zoey’s are both great places to find that. So many great local musicians. Off the top of my head, some of my local faves are Mimi Gilbert, Todd Hannigan and Lissie.”

Small-screen big deal
As happily ensconced in the VC community as it is, the Emy Reynolds Band is also starting to spread its gospel to a wider demographic. A number of the songs have been licensed for commercials and television shows, an experience Reynolds describes as “pretty surreal” the first time it happened. “Our song ‘Tonight’ was on Grey’s Anatomy. We had a bunch of friends over and we all watched it together the night that it aired. It was great!”

Taking it to the streets
The band — which consists of Reynolds, Denney, Alex Heflin and Andrea Alseri — just last week wrapped a tour, opening for singer-songwriter Chris Pureka in support of a new four-song live EP titled When the Light Comes In. The run kicked off in June in Washington, and ran through Aug. 14 in Michigan. Although the band has trekked up and down the West Coast a few times, this was the first national tour and, if all goes as planned, not even close to the last. Reynolds enthused, “It feels amazing. We all agree that it’s the most fulfilling part of being a musician. Connecting with people on the road and seeing how our music affects them is the best!” For its homecoming, the Emy Reynolds Band is set to play the Deer Lodge in Ojai on Sept. 7. After that? “First and foremost, a full-length album. Then straight back to the road!”F

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