Harper Simon – Harper Simon
Tulsi Records 2009
[tags: folk, pop, alt country, singer-songwriter, 2009]
Listen while reading:
Let dear Sufjan Stevens say the album is dead – and then listen to a record like the self-titled debut by Harper Simon. I won’t spoiler you, but: the album is certainly not dead, not at all. But let’s not talk so much about the structure, let’s talk about the music first, because the experience of listening to an album can only be recieved by actually listening to it. Musically Harper Simon walks between folk, pop, singer-songwriter and alt country and wrote a very multifarious record and I think the two tracks I embedded into the post represent the bandwidth of it real good.
As I first listened to Harper Simon I was strongly reminded of Simon And Garfunkel (no, not because of the name) – and still I am. But to break down the music to them would not be appropriate because Harper Simon (side note: the son of Paul Simon) really got an own flavor in his tracks and you get the feeling of modern alt country in combination with classical folk singer-songwriter stuff that creates a sometimes acoustic, sometimes lap steel driven album of great tunes that got the often praised bedroom feeling (Wishes And Stars) as well as the feeling of hot dust mixed with sweat sticking at your face (Tennessee or Shooting Star) – and not to forget the good feeling of just hanging out and having a good time (Cactus Flower Rag).
Talking about the album as a structure or a medium to express art, I wouldn’t call the self-titled record a concept album bcause it tells no story in its entirety. But you still get the feeling of listening to a bigger thing than just individual songs. There is a golden thread in the style of Harper Simon that connects the tracks to something different than just a cluster of loose tracks. And still the tracks on their own are very different in timbre and mood and even genre if you want. And this is the great thing about the album: you feel the record as an important entity that feeds on the singular tracks to grow larger with every minute you listen to it (speaking metaphysically and metaphorical). To say it with easy words: you feel the thing growing on you and it is not just remembering song by song – it’s remebering the album.
To hear more of Harper Simon’s music head over to amazon.com and buy a physical copy or visit iTunes and buy the mp3s (even though I can’t find them there, they may appear soon). Don’t forget to check Harper Simon’s MySpace as well.
Also check out this nice poster (click to enlarge) and the tour dates below:
12/9/09 San Francisco, CA @ Café Du Nord
12/10/09 Arcata, CA @ Humboldt Brews
12/11/09 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
12/12/09 Vancouver, BC @ Media Club
12/13/09 Bellingham, WA @ Wild Buffalo House of Music
12/14/09 Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
12/16/09 Brookdale, CA @ Historic Brookdale Lodge
12/17/09 Visalia, CA @ The Cellar Door
12/18/09 Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg