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Wednesday, January 11, 2017



My practice of only reviewing one record per week won't work anymore.  I comment frequently on how much good music is out there to be discovered.  After about an hour on bandcamp this morning, I'd also say that the converse is true - holy god, there's a glut of pretty sad music out there, too.  No wonder folks just turn to their old favorites rather than pick thru the rubble.  But I'd be overlooking too much worthy music if I didn't at least try to shoehorn a "bonus" review in now and then.  Hence ...

SHOEHORN REVIEWS  
they're short because so's my attention span
Scott Foley, Routes & Branches

Over the span of two very good records, 2012's I'll Keep Calling and 2014's Home Is Where the Hurt Is, JP Harris has boldly worn his musical heart on his plaid sleeve.  While Harris capably pens his own songs, on his new EP, Why Don't We Duet In the Road, he pairs with a cabful of pretty and pretty talented lady singers to cover 4 country perennials.  Reportedly inspired by star-stuffed projects a'la Will the Circle, Harris' new project was stamped onto 500 slabs of hand-numbered seven-inch vinyl.  Fortunately for non-collectors like me, it was also released to good old fashioned mp3 ...  The songs are familiar ones, paying tribute to classic country duets like Conway & Loretta, George & Tammy and Johnny & June.  The playful "You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly" pairs Harris with Nikki Lane.  Former Sixpence None the Rich-er Leigh Nash joins him for another bluesy shot of attitude in "Better Move It", replete with countrypolitan horns.  Onetime Denver fixture Kristina Murray contributes a perfect vocal to George Jones' sweet "Golden Ring".  My favorite of the batch is a Nashvilled up take on Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter", with both Harris' and Kelsey Waldon's deliveries proving to be nothing but genuine.  And that's what JP Harris does best.  These pieces are played close to the trad vest, apparently cobbled together during a hurried afternoon recording session.  With Harris at the helm, it all comes across as both a fitting tribute and a promissory note for his next record of originals.


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