Mt Baker Preview: HARPER CANCELLED!!
Note: Harper has cancelled his west coast tour due to health resaons.
Mount Baker R&B Festival Preview Show:
PART HARMONICA VIRTUOSO AND PART rhythmic explorer, Harper is a fiery artist -singer / songwriter who blurs the lines between blues, soul, rock and world music. His latest Blind Pig release, "Stand Together" (2010) is the most artistically realized CD Harper has ever written. By combining traditional and modern influences, borowing from Western and Aboriginal music, Harper has created a highly original take on the roots genre which many have labeled "World Blues". His innovative use of electronic enhancement and feedback, breaks the traditional bounderies of the harmonica, giving his music its distinctive harmonics and effects. The powerful guitar sounds and the unique drone of the didgeridoo create raw yet eerie sonic textures, some how sounding primal and contemporary at the same time. No Depression Magazine,'s Rod Ames, adds that Harper " has written and arranged some of the most soulful blues rock filled music I've heard in quite sometime". Harper's latest CD reached number 10 on the Billboard Charts and the US Roots Music Charts. "Stand Together" also reached number 2 on the XM/ Sirius Bluesville national Charts, USA. 2010. "Stand Together" was also nominated for "Most Outstanding Recording" by The 2011 Detroit Music Awards. Harper was inducted into The Hall of Fame at The Blues Museum on December 17 by The South Canadian Blues Society in Windsor Canada.This show was sold out six weeks in advance. The performance was filmed by Rogers Television for a feature presentation to be aired later in 2012. A live CD was also recorded due to be released in March/ April of 2012.
Born in the United Kingdom, Harper’s musical journey began early, performing in brass bands playing the trumpet and euphonium. At the age of ten, his family moved half way the world to Perth, Western Australia, and his father introduced Harper to the harp. In Perth, one of the most isolated cities in the world, there was a thriving blues and folk scene. The blues had a rawness, an honesty and a passion of the soul which spoke to Harper deeply. Then, like every blues lover, Harper began his journey backwards to discover the deeper roots of the music.
"I think Muddy Waters really hit me hard. There was something incredibly special about his sound, his powerful voice and his songs. I would sing his songs constantly. I also really dug Sonny Boy Williamson II as well. I loved his rhythmic use of his harp. I was also inspired by a pretty wide range of players and styles like Little Walter, Sugar Blue and Stevie Wonder who guide me in my harmonica playing. "But Harper did not stop his search with the blues. It was a chance meeting with a Hopi "Dan Running Bear" in Silverton, Colorado, that led him down the path to rediscovering the music of his homeland. Fascinated with the spirituality and culture of the American Natives, he found the same qualities present in the Australian Aborigines of his homeland. On adding the native didgeridoo to his music, Harper says "It is a sound I grew up with, so it seemed natural to add it to my songwriting particularly when the lyrics related to the plight of the Aborigines in Australia. When I added the didgeridoo to the more traditional blues instruments, it worked. The deep woody qualities and its haunting drone seemed to enhance the emotional quality of my stories. The didgeridoo is a spiritual and healing instrument, and it seemed blues music accepted it with open arms."
Prior to his introduction to American audiences, Harper released six albums to great acclaim in his homeland of Australia. Harper received a Gold Record for "Sailing Australia" (America's Cup Theme). In 1994 he moved to Melbourne, Victoria and released his first album, "Tears of Ice". This was followed by "Yesterday Is Over" in 1996 with his band Blue Devil and "Live At The Soup Kitchen" in 1997 as a soloist. In 2000, he released "Glass on The Stepping Stone" and "Live At St. Andrew’s" in 2002. In 2003 he released "Way Down Deep Inside", for which he received two harmonica awards and “Album of the Year” honor from US Magazine's Guide to the Best of the Blues Harmonicas & Beyond. Over the years Harper has received multiple Australian Blues Awards for “Male Vocalist of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” and “Acoustic Artist of the Year.”Harper was also invited to perform at a Royal Gala Performance for the Queen of England in Perth, Western Australia.
His prolific recording career and memorable stage performances allowed Harper to take his music beyond Australia. He’s played in the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium and France. He first started performing in the United States in 1996, and has toured here regularly since. It was on one of these tours that he caught the attention of Blind Pig, which made him their first international signing. With a home at a U.S. label and growing appreciation for his music from American audiences, Harper made the permanent move to the U.S. His animated shows have been well received at blues festivals, world music festivals, and by fans of jam band music.Harper has become a huge favorite on the world wide festival scene with 28 festivals booked in 2008, 30 festivals booked in 2009 and 32 festivals booked in 2010 and 31 in 2011. It was during one of these recent festival appearances that Chip Eagle, Publisher for Blues Revue/ Blueswax enthusiastically offered "Harper is the most exciting act on the live scene today". He was also invited to perform harmonica on stage several times with US super group- "Journey".
Harper’s first Blind Pig release and American debut, 2005’s Down To The Rhythm, won accolades from the press for its unique sound and virtuoso performances, coupled with Harper’s compositional skill. “Harper is a crack harp player and he plays the instrument with both speed and efficiency, but it would be a mistake to pigeonhole Harper as just an impressive instrumentalist. He is also a solid songwriter, and a soulful singer with a knack for impassioned sincerity,” said All Music Guide. BluesWax noted, “There is much to enjoy here: clever songwriting, top-notch guitar, powerful rhythms, and some great Harper harp!
”Harper’s second release from Blind Pig Records, Day By Day (2007), provided fans wih another prime example of why his unique roots music style occupies a category of its own. Ramble Magazine raved that Harper's harp and lyrics have " depth of feeling and thought that is unusual in today's music ..Harper's music is essential. It should be widely heard". Downbeat Magazine added "Harper uses his trump cards- a strong and direct singing voice, a stirring harmonica out of Sonny Boy Williamson 11 and Little Walter , a droning didgeridoo - to give his melodic tunes an excitement that suits his intelligent use of blues rock and soul forms". Blues legend John Mayall loved Harper's songs so much so, that he included " Just What Your'e Looking For" as track 2 on his new CD "Tough" (Eagle Records)
Harper is at the top of his game on "Stand Together" (2010), showcasing his trademark powerful soulful voice, virtuoso harp playing, haunting didgeridoo, deeply, soulful grooves and unpraralleled songwrting and compelling lyrics. With his chops at their best and his band "Midwest Kind" sharing his vision, Harper will continue to turn heads of audiences who are looking for orginality, honesty, passion and skill in modern roots music., Harper's Michigan based band Midwest Kind features: Matt Besey on Guitar, Chris Wiley Smith on Bass Guitar/ Djembe and Scott Key on Drums.