Behind the Song
Updated: Jan 11, 2021
Harrison Country (Don, Karen & Amy Harrison, Jennie Harrison Young and Lexi White) is an Americana music group from Annapolis, MD. They are backed by musicians Bryan and Aidan Ewald, Josh Chapman, Larry Byrne, Brad Kimes and Brandon Bartlett. Founder Don Harrison has dubbed their music “21st Century Folk Music.” It doesn’t sound like the folk revival music of the ‘60’s – it’s folk music in a deeper sense.
The people who created John Henry and Froggy Went a Courtin’ and Scarborough Fair weren’t trying to create “folk music.” There 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. Harrison Country does the same.
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!
Laugh, Cry, Think, Get the Groove and Sing Along
When you are writing a song, where do you draw inspiration from? Or what topics do you like to sing about? Just about anything. I've drawn inspiration from sociological studies, an old saying or a clever new phrase that a friend might use, family history, current events, other songs. I woke up with the lyrics to the chorus of "Sometime Over Nighters" -- a new song on our upcoming album --playing in my head to the tune of "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain." Have no idea where it came from. Obviously, I changed the melody once I fleshed it out!
Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing? Fishing. COVID did not hurt my piscatorial adventures this year. Best fishing year of my life! Genealogical research. Great fun putting the puzzles of the past together, usually with very limited resources. And I've used family material I've uncovered for more than a few songs.
Can you tell us what song you've written that is the most emotional and describe the meaning behind it? Or is there a song that means a lot to you that you can describe for us?
"Jesus and a Genie," a new song from our upcoming album "Keeper of the Past." It's about a son trying to help his mother cope with dementia. That sounds very depressing, but there are some lighter moments, including the title itself. As with almost all the songs on the album, it is very conservative. I don't mean conservative in a political, MAGA sense, but in a much more fundamental way. The message of classic conservatism is an anti-utopian one: there is no heaven on earth, and trying to create one is a recipe for horror and suffering, as the history of the last 170 years demonstrates. There is nothing the son can do to reverse his mother's descent, so he consoles himself -- and her -- by "telling her back the stories of her life and joyful times." Her memories are dying, but he becomes her "recollector" and keeps them alive for her. A tiny victory, but more often than not, that's all we mortals get to achieve.
What was the first song or piece you ever wrote!?
"Men in the House," 2020 W.A.M Award for Country Music Song of the Year. I hope that doesn't mean we're a one-hit wonder!
What is your dream gig? Is there a gig that you really want that would be the ultimate show for you?
I'd love to do one of those shows like "Crossroads" or "Darryl's House." Do some tunes with someone whose music I admire, like Brandy Clark or Chris Stapleton or Robbie Robertson. Play some of theirs and some of mine. A fun, low-key kind of thing.
Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?
A new album, "Keeper of the Past." It will be something of a "concept album." Ordinary people caught up in great historical events: the expulsion of the Puritans from Jamestown, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, Prohibition, the hippie Zeitgeist of the '70's. Even in the songs set today, the characters find themselves leaning against strong winds from the past. Based on the subject matter, it will have a bit of an "Americana" feel to it, but plenty of the eclectic production values that fans loved in "Climate Change."
Tell us where fans can access your music.
For more information, please visit Harrison Country's website.