In no way are Murfreesboro bands becoming bland, but it is refreshing to hear local artist Harrison B.’s multifarious self-titled debut, The Harrison B. LP, which gave him the opportunity to serve up a decent portioned bed of throwback alt rock and roll topped with heavy Southern blues with a little funk and soul generously sprinkled into the dish. That’s the taste that caught you off guard but nonetheless surprisingly delightful. And it’s healthy for you.
The Harrison B. LP starts you off with, instead of a simple appetizer to whet the palette, a strong Southern gospel rock song that startles you awake with a delta-ish slide guitar and the mighty blues harmonica over the locomotion of rockabilly percussion and his call and response vocals rejoicing “Freedom” with a choir of angels on his shoulders. “Busted String Blues” and “What to Do and Say” are in similar Southern blues taste, the latter hinting of Dan Auerbauch singing White’s “Ball and a Biscuit,” as it’s just Harrison and his guitar.
Once past the succulence of a good gospel rock, you get into the alt rock. Fuzzy bass and metal guitar tracks reminisce mom’s home-cooked Clutch and Butthole Surfers like in “Bad Boy Undercover” as Harrison verses his way through a megaphone and dirty blues harp. Other rockers on the LP include the bongo-ed “Red, White, Black, and Blue” and the final track “Thieves of Our Fathers,” which stands as the album’s dramatic ballad.
During all of this served by The Harrison B. LP, though, you’re noticing the soulful and funky texture to your enjoyment. The second song on the eight-song LP, “Ink” was the first taste of it, describing a past-due tattoo need over a band sounding like Stevie Wonder sat down with Gov’t Mule while the vocals hint of Bill Withers and Dusty Springfield in feel and flow. It really starts you off right with “Ink” following the first track “Freedom.” The taste stays with you until finishing up with the soulful laments of “Lately I” and its mood-setting bass, drum and organ under the saxophone and backing choir. It’s an appropriate dessert before “Thieves…” moves you out the door.
The Harrison B LP was produced right here in town at Taylor Lonardo’s independent Spring St. Studios and mastered on Music Row earlier this fall. Harrison is currently on North America’s western coast promoting, with the northernmost appearance in Anchorage, and traveling all the way down to San Francisco in the beginning of November. The album can be found through the usual ITunes or reverbnation.com/harrisonb, but check out his fan site for it and Harrison updates at harrisonbmusic.com.