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Weekend Pick: Best Valentine’s Day entertainment is in Prosser

Reed Turchi

Reed Turchi plays at Brewminatti in Prosser on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A month and a half into 2019, SCENE’s “best venue of 2018” is already making a case to repeat that accomplishment.

Brewminatti, the tiny club in the tiny town of Prosser, has scheduled the best Valentine’s Day entertainment in the Yakima Valley: Reed Turchi, a plainspoken, talk-singing singer-songwriter whose work just grows on you.

Turchi is a great blues guitarist, even if it might take you a minute of real listening to discern that. He doesn’t do that fingers-flying-around shredding thing that more ostentatious players do. There’s no histrionics or fireworks. Instead, Turchi gently bends the instrument to his will, balancing flourishes against restraint, with the needs of the song taking priority. He doesn’t show off, in other words. He just plays really well.

That’s a testament to the devotion with which the North Carolina-bred bluesman approaches tradition. He’s steeped in the works of forebears such as Mississippi Fred McDowell and has collaborated with the likes of Junior Kimbrough, Little Joe Ayers and Kenny Brown. With that sort of foundation, Turchi doesn’t need to prove anything.

All of which is not to suggest the show will be dull. There will be plenty of moments when Turchi’s guitar work will, without a whiff of conspicuous effort, nevertheless insist upon its own greatness. I mean, just because he’s not showing off doesn’t mean he’s going to hide that. The man can really wow you when called upon.

What I like about him, though, is that it’s not forced. His work with ensembles — frequently louder and more foot-stompin’ — is more about competence than bravado. And his solo music, while more than lively enough for a room the size of Brewminatti, has the added bonus of intimacy. It’s the kind of stuff that you’ll like if you hear it in passing and love if you sit down with it for a while and pay attention.

If you go

What: Reed Turchi

When: 7-9 p.m. today

Where: Brewminatti, 713 Sixth St. in Prosser

Tickets: $15 advance, $20 at the door

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