Vinyl Cafe

The Vinyl Cafe was an hour-long radio variety show hosted by Stuart McLean (Apr 19, 1948 – Feb 15, 2017) that was broadcast on CBC Radio and was syndicated to approximately 80 U.S. public radio stations through Public Radio International. For those in the US, Vinyl Cafe was kinda like Prairie Home Companion, but with a sexier host 😉 Produced by Jess Milton, the VC continues as a popular podcast. Most of Canada has listened at some point.

Reid was (is?) an official member of the Vinyl Cafe Orchestra (he even has a badge to prove it!). Since 2005 Reid has joined Stuart McLean and the gang on live tours, radio broadcasts and special events. Stuart and the gang had a huge influence on Reid’s musical career, and has inspired many recordings.

“The Unreleased Stories” Oct 2017

October 2017 VC released a brand new posthumous Vinyl Cafe CD. The CD – “The Unreleased Stories” – including 13 Dave and Morley stories. Stories that are available for the first time on CD, including two brand new stories, recorded at Stuart’s final Vinyl Cafe performance. Reid’s original artwork, the ink drawing “Radio Canada” will be used on the cover. This is a special honour as the image was originally drawn for Stuart as a present years ago. Oh boy we miss that man.


When we were pulling together the tracks for DEAR LEONARD: The Cohen Collection we asked Stuart what his choice for a Leonard Cohen song would be. He chose a lesser known gem written by Leonard and Sharon Robinson called Alexandra Leaving.

Vinyl Cafe Stories July 2015

Find Your Heart a Home was featured alongside a great story about Sam’s first job. Written about Reid’s big move west 10 years ago made for some pretty great timing, so we rerecorded it and sent it out into the world.

Hey Big Kid – An Ode To StuartMcLean – April 2013. Reid (and the missus) write and release an ode to Canada’s favourite storyteller on his 65th birthday. Hey Big Kid includes a slide show of ‘Cpttage Man’ pix you won’t want to miss.


Reid is was travelling the country (Washington too!) with the Vinyl Cafe for their 2012 Christmas Tour. Singing Stuart’s favourite holiday mixed tape and releasing his own winter-themed disc Songs For A Winter’s Night. Dates, tickets and more here.

Many episodes of shows that Reid has appeared on have been rebroadcast and are also available as podcasts.

STUART AS A BOY (live in Montreal)

Story of Stuart’s Early Years in Montreal, live from Montrea;’s Place des Artes


April 30 – Ganaoque
May 1 – Brockville
May 2nd Montreal
RADIO: June 5/6/7, 2010 & March 12/13/15 2011

2010 January 23/24/26


Let It Be Me airs on the studio show: We’re feeling Antsy. Reid recorded this song, along with a instrumental versions, for Stuart who wanted to learn how to play and sing it on ukulele.


LIVE: Oct 13-25 (15 shows in Ontario)
RADIO: Nov 14, 15, 17, 2009, Aug 4, 5, 7, 2012.

LIVE: April 2008
(Via Rail from Vancouver to Toronto)
RADIO: Jun 7, 8, 10, 2008

LIVE: October 26, 2006 (with Murray MacLauchlan and Carolyn Mark)
RADIO: Nov 11, 12, 2006

2006 Vinyl Cafe Spring Tour
LIVE: March 27 – (ON/MB/SK/AB with Suzie Vinnick)

LIVE: December 4th, 2005 2 shows as special guest The Royal Theatre, Victoria BC

LIVE: January 30th 2005 (Capitol Theatre with Nicole Stoffman)
RADIO: February 12th & 13th, 2005

A brief history of how Reid became an official member of the Vinyl Cafe Orchestra…

In June of 2004 Tony Dekker from the Great Lake Swimmers was scheduled to play the Maple Lounge upstairs at the Rivoli in Toronto – an all Canadian music series curated by Reid’s (one day) wife Carolyn Victoria Mill. Although Tony was scheduled for a full month of of Wednesdays, Tony was lucky enough to be asked by Ron Sexsmith to open for him at Massey Hall on one of those Wednesdays. And so Tony needed someone to cover for him at the Maple Lounge or CVM would have his hide. Reid happily picked up the slack. That same night Stuart Mclean and his producer Jess Milton came out to listen to this Great Lake Swimmers fellow. Instead they got Reid. Stuart almost left but decided to stay once Reid began singing. The rest as they say…is history.

Reid was recorded live in concert for Vinyl Cafe for the first time on January 30, 2005 at The Capitol Theatre in Port Hope, Ontario. We had an amazing time, and a loving relationship with the VC began. Stuart and Jess (his producer) sure know how to put on a classy show and make an artist feel extra special. Port Hope is a beautiful town, with a fabulous theatre, and we stayed at the super charming Dr. Corbetts Inn.

Reid then joined the VC gang again on December 6th 2005 at the Royal in Victoria BC (his new home) as a special guest to sing his seasonal composition Last Day Of The Year at the afternoon and evening Christmas show. His first appearance in town was a little nerve racking (The Royal is awfully nice and Reid kindas screwed up his one song during the matinee), but musical director John Sheard and bassist Denis Pendrith were so completely endearing that all was soon tickity-boo for the evening show. The combination of the three boys is definitely something we hoped to see more of in the future. And we did.

They hooked up again for a full tour in the spring of 2006, with fabulous singer songwriter Suzie Vinnick. Starting in London, Ontario and making their way west to Alberta. Reid played Kid Canada in the very first production of Stuart’s new radio drama Eggs Blackstone. A fella could get used to the high hospitality and kind treatment he endured at the hands of Jess and Ted and the whole danged gang.

Next up they were off to Mission BC on October of 2006 to record a show with the legendary Murray MacLauchlan, Jenny Whiteley and Carolyn Mark. Murray got to take over as Kid Canada…and Reid…well, Reid let him!

Vinyl Cafe on the Rails…The Train Show

One day CVM got the call. Reid received a pretty nifty invitation to accompany Stuart or a very intimate show on Via Rail’s cross Canada train. Stuart Mclean told stories and Reid sang complimentary songs. Before they boarded the train Reid and CVM toiled over a special song just for that trip called RAIL, (available on Staring Contest). This song went on to win the grand prize for folk in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. It’s also worth noting that Reid brought his uke along on that trip, and it is on the train that he wrote MY GREEN THUMB, also available on said album. He wrote it on a cocktail napkin in the bar car while enjoying champagne and orange juice at 11 in the morning. A guy could get used to this.

Reid took off with them on their Fall 2009 tour through various towns in Ontario. This might actually be only the third time in the history of the VC that they brought only one musical guest with them, making it extra special for our greedy Reido. He was able to swing this by playing his own material, and then coming out as his alter-Elvis and performing selections from The Presley Sessions – much to the delight of ladies everywhere. Except for maybe the soon-to-be missus. Reid had recorded the record as a birthday gift to his then girlfriend, who he had just proposed to in Kauai. Stuart announced this happy news to his audience – before the newly betrothed had told many of their extended friends and family (!). Revenge was sweet a couple years later when Reid got to spill the beans on Stuart’s big birthday (see below). Speaking of birthdays, this tour had a timely stop in Orillia where Reid’s pappy lives, and the show just happened to fall on Reid’s birthday! Jess even baked him a non-dairy cake and about 700 people sang him happy birthday. That was pretty swell, except for the part where Reid got wax on Stuart’s snazzy three piece while blowing out his candles…

In January 2010 Stuart told the story of an old friend of his who had passed away. To accompany the story he played a demo recording of Reid playing uke and singing the Everly Brothers hit ‘Let It Be Me’. Reid had recorded the song especially for him (with vocals and without), as Stuart had wanted to learn the song himself one day. Did he? who knows?

And then there was la belle province in the spring of 2010 with Stuart As A Boy. Stuart wanted to go to his hometown of Montreal and tell the story of his early years. He chose Reid to accompany him solo, with songs from each decade. It was pretty special, and not a little bit of work considering how many songs and styles were covered in the telling of Stuart’s histoire. John accompanied Reid on a heartbreaking piano version of In My Life by the Beatles. As John would say – ‘not a dry seat in the house’.

November 2012 saw Reid release a collection of winter-themed tunes called Songs For A Winter’s Night, which made for a pretty great excuse to join the VC, along with the Vinylettes, for their Christmas Tour. With stops from Ontario to Seattle – where a long promised recorded show was taped – he sang his way into what was clearly a treasured tradition for many. Probably the most shows Reid had ever played in a row, and yet he was very sad to see it end come Xmas eve.

Reid’s music, and tales of his personal life (like the time Stuart announced to the whole country that Reid and CVM got engaged BEFORE they told half their friends), contiue to join Stuart and the gang on various recorded shows. And that suits everyone just fine.

On April 19, 2013 Stuart turned 65 and Reid commemorated the event by writing an ode to Canada’s favourite story teller called Hey Big Kid. We snuck around and scored a bunch of pix from Stuart’s girlfriend and created a slideshow of Cottage Man pix you won’t want to miss.

The spring of 2015 and we get an email from Jess asking to use an old demo on an upcoming show alongside a great story about Sam’s first job. Find Your Heart a Home was written about Reid’s big move west 10 years ago made for some pretty great timing, so we rerecorded it and sent it out into the world.

Over the years Reid had many opportunities to play with The VC orchestra, namely John Sheard and Dennis Pendrith. The combination of the three of them was so sweet to Reid’s ears that he has implored them on numerous occasions to join him onstage at his own shows. This too has gone well and so you can expect to hear more of those fine fellas on Reid’s music in future. You can hear John Sheard play piano on a handful of songs on Reid’s latest album STARING CONTEST.

You can Download the Vinyl Cafe podcast if you would like to revisit some of those shows:

Very much looking forward to more time spent with Canada’s favourite story teller; Stuart McLean and his merry band of…well…band. Special thank yous to his awesome and fierce producer Jess Milton. She is clearly the brains of the operation. Although Ted is much smarter than he looks.

Well thats some of the story – so far.

So long for now!

Do we need to tell you to tune in/buy a CD/read a book? Didn’t think so… CBC/VinylCafe