Growing up, Warren Reville was inspired to be a musician by watching his older sister become a performer.
“When I was younger, I watched my older sister Kris St. Louis learn guitar and piano. She played a bitchin’ slide guitar. I watched her get into bands and as a result I got to meet some cool musicians.”
Reville began meeting local players on the Sault scene like Tom Belsito, Rick and Chris Bardawill, and Bob Forbes.
Rick Bardawill gave Reville his first bass lessons to start him on his journey.
“I met all those cats and I thought to myself, ‘Geez, it would be cool to be like that.’ That’s where my passion started. That and getting turned onto great bands like ZZ Top and Led Zeppelin.”
Reville learned to play bass and guitar, landing gigs in local acts like Lost Locals (with Jay Scali, Dean Drebit, John Muse and his younger sister Lynne Reville) and Blue North (with Mike Oakley, Anthony Carlucci and Lynne Reville).
“When I first started playing with Jay [in Lost Locals], I learned all the material for the first rehearsal. I had it down. He walked in the room and I couldn’t play to save my life. I was nervous. I said to Jay, ‘I did learn this stuff.’ He told me not to worry about it. He was flattered.”
Reville wound up playing with Scali for the better part of 25 years. One night in a trio with Jay Scali and Bobby Clarke, Scali decided right before the gig to add a song Reville didn’t know. “I asked them to give me until the set break so I could figure out how to play it. They agreed and as went onstage, they counted that song in. I was like a deer in the headlights. If there is anything Jay has taught me was how to wing it. It’s gotten me work because I can walk in, not know the songs, but somehow manage to do a respectable job. It was a great learning experience and I am grateful to him for that.”
Through Scali, Reville also got to play with Bob Yeomans and Brien Proulx.
Bringing it full circle, Reville wound up traveling down to Southern Ontario to play in his sister Kris’ band when gigs were available. Through those gigs, Reville met James Anthony, an acclaimed blues guitarist, who was in the house band at the infamous Lulu’s Roadhouse in Kitchener, often playing with known acts. In its heyday, the Roadhouse’s stage was graced by everyone from the Ramones to James Brown to Chuck Berry to Roy Orbison.
Reville and Anthony became friends. “I recorded with James Anthony at his studio Sound Investments in Burlington. That was a real humbling experience. In those days, recording was done on tape, so you needed to know what you were doing.”
Reville eventually began playing with Rusty McCarthy, Ed Young, Josh Norling and his sister Lynne as part of Wednesday Night Blues at Algoma's Water Tower Pub.
Fast forward to the early 2000s, when digital recording technology was becoming more affordable and portable, Reville took an interest in the GarageBand recording software available on Mac computers.
“I dove in and discovered that recording was fun. I kept experimenting and plugging away on it, writing and recording.”
It was Reville’s bandmate, drummer Ed Young that inspired him to take recording more seriously.
“Ed is a great guitar player as well as drummer and he’d come over and we’d share songs we had written. One day he told me he was moving to PEI and said, ‘Let’s record something.”
That’s when Reville met musician and producer Craig West, who at the time was running a recording studio out of Case’s Music.
“I called him up and we talked about recording. He was also teaching people how to record.”
“So Craig recorded us before Ed left town.”
It was West who suggested Reville look into Logic recording software. “That’s when I really got hooked and started recording. I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t I just put a recording studio in my house?’”
West helped him create the studio.
“I remember Craig holding his finger over the return key to start the installation of the software and he said, ‘Are you sure you want this?” I said, ‘Yes, why?” He said,’ I don’t want you coming back at me when you fall down this rabbit hole. You think this is the only piece of gear you’re going to buy? You’re in trouble. If I install this, your life is over.’ I was getting agitated and told him to press the damn key. He said, ‘Okay, but it’s not my fault.”
Fast forward a few years and numerous pieces of equipment purchased, Reveal Music Studio is now a fully functional recording studio, with specially designed drum and recording rooms that Reville self-designed and built using skills from his past life as a carpenter.
Reville has since recorded albums for Odd Man Out, MD Dunn, Machines Dream, and Marty Siltanen (in progress). He recorded songs with Tiana Legacy and a few commercials. Jay Case, Frank Deresti, Sheldon Jääskeläinen, Chris Johns, Randy Foreman and his sister Lynne all guested on albums recorded there.
“There have been many good musicians through here. I have been fortunate and blessed.”
Reville’s professional relationship with West continued. “I have enjoyed the friendship. Craig has mentored me. If I run into a problem I just give him a call.”
For Reveal Music, Reville records, produces and handles the artists coming into the studio. Craig West exclusively mixes the music recorded at the studio. For mastering, the duo has developed a relationship with professional mastering engineer Will Geraldo, who lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
This three-way partnership ensures a there is fresh set of ears that focus on their own expertise at each stage of the project.
“I bend over backwards and treat each project as if it’s my own. I want for the artist to have a good result and experience. You get caught up in their excitement and get on their train for a while.”
Reville notes that while Reveal Music isn’t much of an income generator, it’s self-sustaining, allowing him to do the projects he wants to do and cover some of the cost of gear.
“If I get motivated with my own music, I have the key to the studio 24-hours a day.”
After years of watching others release music recorded in his studio, Reville felt it might be time to do some of his own.
“I was envious. I just wanted to record an album for me. It’s been a painstaking labour of love. I have about 70 per cent of the album done. I can see the finish line.”
The album is very much a reflection of the artists Reville has performed with and recorded over the years. Musicians include Ed Young, Rusty McCarthy, James Anthony, Bob Yeomans, Sue Murton, Doug Wilde, Ken Coulter, Rob Coleman, Jenny Gauvreau, Josh Norling, Mark Gough and his sister Lynne. West acts as recording engineer for Reville’s vocal sessions and is mixing the album.
“It will definitely be a 2020 release. I have been blessed knowing so many great musicians and I’m pretty lucky to have everybody involved.”
Warren Reville currently plays in local band 5 Below Zero.