Eric Harrison: Dear John

Eric Harrison
Dear John
(Eric Harrison)

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Kevin Salem’s in-the-pocket snare snap, a simple yet perfectly placed lead guitar, and Eric Harrison’s distinctive vocal pushes the wonderful opener “Till You Make Me Home” off Harrison’s new EP, Dear John. Paying homage to John Prine here, Harrison attempts to set out five tunes of songs with a “big heart.”

The extra special sweetening of Simi Stone’s vocal, Sasha Ostrovsky’s lap steel more upfront in the mix, and banjo and fiddle make “Cougar Jenny,” a well-layered country-style story-song about love lasting in one’s memory for so many years. It’s a real gem of a tune.

“Hot Teardrops and Cold Compresses” employs some great backing and harmony vocals (something we get lots here with Harrison’s compositions, and, dare I say it, something he has slightly over Prine’s tunes. It’s another one where we get the full complement of the requisite country layering of slides and banjos and strong production from Salem.

A much quieter-than-the-rest “Live Before You Die” ends Dear John, and it’s a welcome respite to the upbeat country stuff that comes before it. With John Conte’s upright bass and Salem providing some extra sweetening via accordion and later guitar, this is a true killer track, a sweet plea wishing the listener to live before they die… a fundamental sentiment if ever there was one. This is also Harrison’s best vocal among a collection of some great vocals performances. N.J. son Harrison make good for John Prine and us all, on Dear John.

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