1. JP's Florida Blues #1
2. Lady In The Spotlight
3. When I Quit Drinking
4. Long Ways Back
5. Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing
6. Hard Road
7. I Only Drink Alone
9. Miss Jeanne-Marie
10. Jimmy's Dead And Gone
This is a Classic Country album, which is praise in itself if you are a fan of Country.
For most of the songs there is nothing remarkable about the musical arrangements. The playing is excellent, if a bit predictable. That isn’t a problem as it is a quality Country album and there are other things that raise this above other Country albums.
What makes this an album I would recommend, even if you are not a fan of Country, are two things.
Firstly, the lyrics, J.P. Harris does not pull his punches or sugar coat things. This is not writer who is trying to tell you his life is perfect, far from it. I don’t know if this is autobiographical, but the writing suggests a man who has not known the finer side of life very often. To be fair, a lot of Country is based on that so that’s not enough to recommend this album in itself.
Secondly, and the one that means I will listen to this record again, is quite simply J.P. Harris’s voice, there is something in there that makes his voice a classic Americana voice but there is more, much more to come, I hope. My feeling is he could push himself and sing a wider variety of music if he wanted to. At times he brings real emotion to his singing, at times the warmth contained within his voice is a so enveloping that its like a warm duvet on a cold day. He may not thank me for this comparison, he reminds me of Neil Diamond at his best, other times, he could be top class Country singer.
The stand out song for me, personally, is 'Miss Jeanne-Marie', on the whole the slower songs tend to be better and more involving, the faster songs are high quality, but not distinct from any other country track. That being said 'Jimmy’s Dead And Gone' may be the finest Country song about a train written in the last 10 years, if it doesn’t make you want to stomp along, check your pulse, you may be dead!
I will listen to this album again and I will watch J.P. Harris’s career with interest. I think if he chooses to push the boundaries of his musical ambition he has a potentially huge future in the wider music industry, if he doesn’t and stays within the boundaries he has currently set himself, he still could have a huge future as a Country star.
If this album finds it way on the Country station playlists then he will have a country hit, possibly quite a big one. Personally, I would love to see him take some risks and push himself. I would pay to go and watch him sing live, I think his voice could be quite stunning in person.
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Review - Iain McClay