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, borrowing 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 new 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.
Art Tipaldi, editor of Blues Revue recently described Harper as "a singer with the deep soul of Motown, a harmonica player who can graft Sonny Boy II and Little Walter with John Popper, a songwriter who tells his own compelling stories in an unhurried, J.J. Cale-like manner, and a musical visionary who is unafraid to mix the didgeridoo, an important part of his Australian indigenous culture, with infectious modern percussive rhythms".
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. 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…