From County Armagh, Northern Ireland, Reuben has paved his way to become one of the top bluegrass guitar players in the UK and Ireland.
In 2018, Reuben was one of 16 chosen to attend the Savannah Acoustic Music Seminar, studying with world-class artists such as Julian Lage, Mike Marshall, Mike Block and Moira Smiley. He was also selected by the Panarts Belfast Nashville Singer-Songwriter Festival as one of three sing-songwriters to travel to Nashville. He performs regularly with his family trio, Cup O’Joe, as well as with 5 piece Anglo-Irish Bluegrass band, Pet Yeti.
In addition to playing the guitar, Reuben spends his time songwriting for the various bands he's in as well as his solo project. His songwriting can be heard throughout Cup O'Joe's record 'In The Parting' which was released in January 2020 and the Pet Yeti album, 'Space Guitars', which is yet to be released.
"They make a truly gorgeous sound and play with such intuition as only a family can do."
– Cara Dillon
Cup O’Joe is a close family trio who have been playing together from their early teens. They were raised in the traditions of bluegrass and folk and it is these traditions that their music is rooted in. They blend the intricate tones of bluegrass, folk and jazz tones to create their own progressive acoustic sound. Their mix of original and re-imagined traditional songs sets the ingredients for an energetic and enthusiastic performance, and this is giving them a growing presence on the surrounding acoustic music scene in Ireland, the UK and Mainland Europe. Strong sibling harmonies can be heard throughout their music, harmonies that blend together like only sibling harmonies can.
The former Radio 2 Young Folk Award Finalists have toured extensively through Ireland, England and Central Europe over the years. In 2017 they were selected to take part in the Bluegrass Ramble at the International Bluegrass Associations week-long conference and festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, being one of the first International bands to do so.
Having appeared on many media platforms with their most recent in providing insight of locally written Scots-Irish music on several BBC documentaries and musical exhibitions.
They released their new album in January 2020, which contains nine new original songs and one traditional, whilst embodying a fresh original sound. For several tracks they are joined on mandolin by David Benedict (Mile Twelve), and on fiddle by Niall Murphy (Breaking Trad, Cara Dillon, Nathan Carter) as well as many more special guests.
Reuben and Benjamin Agnew (guitar and bass) are two brothers from Northern Ireland and perform as part of Cup O’ Joe. Their tight, sibling harmonies and instrumental prowess have already made them 2015 BBC Young Folk AwardFinalists as well as having made appearances on Irish television.
Kieran Towers (fiddle) becoming a name to watch out for on the UK and US bluegrass and old-time scenes, since having won the old-time fiddle contest at Gainsborough Festival in 2014, he recently released a duo album with Charlotte Carrivick of The Carrivick Sisters.
Joe Tozer (mandolin) has toured extensively in the UK, Europe and Canada with the band Cardboard Fox. Most recently he appeared at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh, USA as an official showcasing artist – a first for any UK band.
John Breese (banjo) is another familiar face on the UK scene. Since graduating from his Masters’ Degree on classical guitar in 2011, he has gone on to tour and teach internationally with the banjo and double bass in various outfits including Cardboard Fox, The Carrivick Sisters, The Coal Porters and Thunderbridge Bluegrass Band.