Free Dirt Records [Release date 05.10.18]
JP Harris is a country singer who is has gained many plaudits for his music to date. JP Harris had a novel way to record the album. He sent acoustic demos to the six hand-picked musicians that appear on the album and asked them to take five days to think about the songs, make notes on the songs, don’t confer with each other and then met to create the album, with no pre-production or rehearsals. On this album Morgan Jahnig (Old Crow Medicine Show) handles production, with fellow Old Crow Medicine Show band member Chance McCoy one of the musicians on the album.
JP Harris has produced a album full of traditional/old time country songs where the songs are based on the everyday and often issues JP Harris himself has faced. The album is bookended by two such songs. Opener ‘JP’s Florida Blues #1′ (make sure you watch the accompanying video on YouTube), a rip roaring country rocker that recalls his days on the road with pills, drugs, wild nights – heck he could have given Motley Crue a run for their money in the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle stakes. ‘Jimmy’s Dead And Gone’ has a similar frantic pace, based on his time moving across the US on the boxcars.
‘Lady In The Spotlight’ highlights the sleazy side of the music business. ‘When I Quit Drinking’ is the perfect old time country song both in lyric and the music, in particular the mesmerising pedal steel playing of Leroy Powell. Speaking of musicianship, the piano playing of Mark Sloan is the stand out on ‘Miss Jeanne-Marie’.
Every so often an album comes along which you had no expectations about, which when you play it first time you are captivated by it from the off. This is one such album that sees JP Harris and his fellow musicians produce an album that will be played again and again. Marvellous. ****1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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