What I’m Listening to: Gene Reinert

Gene Reinert of Guru Guitars shares the playlist of jazz, soul and worship music that’s keeping up his spirits these days.
by Addie Ladner

From the beginning, Eugene “Gene” Reinert knew he wanted to play music. He learned from his dad at a young age how to play Joplin’s The Entertainer on piano and eventually fell in love with a different instrument, the guitar. “Ultimately I’m drawn most to the creative side of music. There is simply nothing like creating a song and bringing others together to perform it, or being the one to help another person make their song great,” Reinert says. 

The husband, father and musician has come to know guitars like a mechanic knows an engine. He’s repaired and restored a vintage 1956 Gibson Les Paul Custom electric guitar and an 1890’s Martin 1-18. He can build them too. Reinert co-owns the local vintage guitar shop Guru Guitars near the State Fair Grounds, whose customers have included Pat Sansone and Nels Kline from Wilco, The Black Keys, Adam Shoenfeld (who tours with Tim McGraw) and Joe Bonamassa

Here, he shares what tunes he’s been listening to during the pandemic.  

My musical tastes are widespread and don’t discriminate. In today’s digital age, I listen to more individual artists rather than entire albums. Here are the artists who have been keeping me sane during the COVID19 outbreak. 

James Brown is at the top currently, specifically Super Bad, Cold Sweat, and I’ve Got Ants in My Pants. I was doing yard work the other day and it just hit me, I wanted to deep-down groove. Who does it better? Sometimes his lyrics just make me smile. There’s no denying that whatever James Brown is saying through his lyrics, he means it. He wants to make sure everyone feels it deep in their core and he is willing to go there.

In the evenings now, Miles Davis’s instrumental jazz is my jam. Being a musician, I actually prefer music without words. For me, words sometimes get in the way, while- instrumental cause us to listen in a focused way. It’s an opportunity to pick out themes and ideas versus computing a narrative. My family and I typically have him on while we cook dinner and then play card games. He says on until bedtime and sets a relaxing yet interesting tone.

Right now more than ever, I’m using music as a tool to help me remember that we aren’t alone in these desperate times. For me, Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin, and Elevation Worship’s music are uplifting me in that way, reminding me that there is a God who loves us. 

If you’re looking for something completely fresh, in August 2019 I released an instrumental album with Doug Sours called Wood Stork. You can expect a mix of 60’s blue note jazz, Latin and blues with influences from Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and Joe Pass. It’s fun and quirky with solid rhythm and feeling. Listen to it on IHeart Radio or find it on all the streaming platforms like cdbaby and Bandcamp. For me, the best way I deal with all of this is by creating my own music. It’s a stress relief that allows for expression beyond words. 

Connect with Gene and Guru Guitars on instagram and Facebook and to learn more about his team and other instrument makers head here.