Euferzine is a pseudonym that singer-songwriter Denise Reagan uses when performing. It was her grandmother’s name, and she has adopted it as a way to give homage to a forgotten time.
Her music is honest and rooted in the Cumberland Mountains. Her style could be called Americana because her music incorporates many styles. She writes with several Nashville professional musicians and seeks to highlight their artistry in her songs. Euferzine music is artful and full of raw emotion. Her music harkens back to a time when life was simpler, but not easier.
The musical roots of Euferzine are in Jamestown, TN, a rural area near Big South Fork and Rugby. It is a ruggedly beautiful area with few jobs and a lot of poverty. Denise’s paternal grandparents were sharecroppers. They could not read or write. Her grandfather did not earn a wage until he was in his 30’s when FDR brought road-building jobs into the valley connecting Jamestown and Livingston, TN. Her maternal grandparents were merchants from the Byrdstown area. They operated a grocery store and later a hardware store. The Upper Cumberland area is historically significant for many reasons. Sergeant Alvin C. York and Cordell Hull were well known residents. The first shots fired in Tennessee during the Civil War were in Travisville where many of her ancestors lived.
During the Civil War, this area was the Borderlands. Families were torn apart. Brothers fought against brothers. Neighbors became your enemy. Choosing sides became the difference between life and death. Some ancestors were killed because they picked sides. Others were sent to Civil War prison camps, treated dishonorably and died in the most inhumane ways. Life can be harsh on the mountain. Denise’s ancestors came to the Upper Cumberland area in the early 1800s and stayed for over 200 years. They did not venture West or North for a better life. Maybe they couldn’t afford to leave. Once the highways were paved, they found a road to somewhere else.
My parents were teachers−the most important and undervalued profession in this country. Education changed their lives. They had disabilities that helped them go to college. They lived the American dream. They dreamed of a better life and because they went to college, they found it. They were honest, hard working, determined and goal-oriented. Thankfully, they taught me those traits as well.
I came to Nashville because I am creative & need to be in a town that encourages the arts & champions creative people. I miss the mountains. I miss the rivers. Nashville is home, but I will always be tied to the Cumberlands.
There are always obstacles. Stay focused on your dreams. I was a single mom for a long time. Music became a back-burner issue for a while since raising children takes a lot of time and energy. I decided a few years ago to revisit some of my songs and save them from obscurity. It has been a slow process. One of my old bosses always said, “You move a mountain one rock at a time.” So, that is what I have done. I focus on one song at a time and make sure I artfully express its individuality.
For years, music industry insiders would tell me they loved my songs, but they didn’t know who to pitch them to. I was always a little left of the commercial center of gravity. They just weren’t willing to take a risk. So, I am taking all the risks. My projects have been self-funded. I don’t have a financial backer. I saved my pennies and worked on it a little at a time. I have been fortunate to always have just enough to get me to the next step. Having a budget, forced me to focus on what was important. I did not cut corners musically. That would have been the easy way. Striving for excellence costs more but it multiplies the value.
My music is a gift. I have been given these songs to share with you. The musicians have given their stellar performances and I am sharing this project with you. I do not want to live a life of regret.
I don’t want any words to be left unsaid.
I have something to say.