Harrison Country is an Americana group based out of Annapolis, MD. The group features dynamic vocals from Don and Karen Harrison, daughters Amy Harrison and Jennie Harrison Young, and Lexi White. They have recently released their debut album titled ‘Climate Change.’ With help from Maryland legend Bryan Ewald (guitars, bass, mandolin, keyboards) and Annapolis area talents Josh Chapman (bass), Brandon Bartlett (drums), Brad Kimes (drums), Larry Byrne (keyboards, bass, sax) and Aidan Ewald (drums), they create a collective of story driven songs each drawing from different Americana traditions!
For fans who have never heard your music, can you pick three words to describe it?! If three words just aren't enough..then tell us more!!
Since we draw on so many American music traditions, I had a difficult time describing our music, but eventually came up with “21st Century Folk Music.” We don’t sound anything like the folk revival tunes of the ‘60’s; it’s folk music in a more fundamental way. The people who wrote John Henry and Scarborough Fair weren’t trying to create “folk music.” They were telling stories about their lives and the world in which they lived, using language that ordinary people could understand, with the instruments and music traditions available to them at the time. We’re doing the same thing – squabbling teenage girls, gluten free linguini, university safe spaces, blind dates, family vacations.
When you are writing a song, where do you draw inspiration from? Or what topics do you like to write or sing about?
A little autobiography, a little history, a lot of the world around me. Climate Change – I have neck problems, and get massage therapy. My therapist wanted me to take her fishing, but felt she should ask my wife Karen for permission. Karen’s response was “no problem, you see him half naked once a week, why should I worry about what goes on beside a swampy pond?” But I imagined a less innocent scenario, and turned it into a huntin’, fishin’ and cheatin’ song.
Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing?
As you can tell from the songs, I’m a fisherman. I love to go exploring new spots in my kayak. For the last year, I’ve been doing extensive genealogical research on our Harrison clan. And I’m still enthusiastic about my day job as a financial advisor. Greatest enjoyment of all – tucking the grandkids in at night.
If you were to create your favorite playlist of other artists music, what would your top 3 songs be? And, what artists have influenced your music the most?..
The Band’s Forbidden Fruit. It’s not their greatest, but there’s so much going on musically in the live version that I never get tired of listening to it. The Stones Sympathy for the Devil. It’s the most conservative rock and roll song of all time in its depiction of the evil of moral relativism. Chris Stapleton’s Tennessee Whiskey. Got to have one of his, and this is one of my favorite “sing alongs.” One thing all of these have in common – they’re all 5 minutes plus. If I like it, I don’t want it to end!
Can you tell us what song you've written that is the most emotional and describe the meaning behind it? Emotional doesn't have to mean sad etc., it can be a high energy too...(sad, happy, angry, fear,etc.)
When the Geese Fly A father is on his death bed and can no longer speak, but is trying to communicate to his son that the son needs to remember the good times they had together, and forget the heartache and the “blue flashing lights.” He’s trying to give good advice – a life of anger goes nowhere – and at the same earn forgiveness if he can get the son to give up his bitterness.
What is your dream gig? Is there a gig that you really want that would be the ultimate show for you?
I would load the group into Mr. Peabody’s WABAC Machine, and travel back to Thanksgiving Day,1976, to the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, where we’d perform with The Band, do an ensemble version of Ophelia. I still remember how the hair on the back of my neck stood up when I first heard Levon Helm’s voice through six-transistor radio earplugs, listening at midnight to Kirby Scott’s Underground Hour on Baltimore’s WCAO, covers pulled over my head so my parents couldn’t hear. Though there are no conscious homage pieces to The Band on Climate Change, I’m constantly discovering chord progressions and “bits” that were inspired by them. There would be no “oo la la” in When the Fat Lady Sings if the people hadn’t been singing “la la la la na na” on The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.
Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?
We’re planning another album, tentatively titled Keeper of the Past. This will be more of a theme album – stories from the past, folks trying to navigate today with yesterday’s chart books. But I think we’ll keep the same musical approach we had in Climate Change. Every song will be like the chocolates in Forrest Gump’s box – you never know what you’re gonna get!
Tell us where fans can access your music.