Hailing from Durham, North Carolina, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brett Harris is one of the few artists you can find these days who is fully committed to embracing power pop in the purest sense. It should come as no surprise that Harris has already made a name for himself as student of Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple of The dB’s, whom he accompanied as a guitarist during the band’s 2012 reunion tour. As if that doesn’t already give him a considerable amount of clout in the power pop universe, Harris has made fans out of Posies/Big Star member Ken Stringfellow and Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake, even earning his place as a member of Big Star’s Third ensemble.
Those credentials alone should warrant your attention, but it is on his own where Brett Harris truly shines, and his new album Up In The Air, coming March 4th on Hit the Deck Recordings/ Redeye, is an impeccably produced collection of ten songs that give us a delightful look at Harris’ ability to craft shimmering nuggets of pop goodness. His deep knowledge and love for groups like the Beach Boys, Big Star, Nick Lowe, Marshall Crenshaw and even a dash of Jeff Lynn, to name a few, is impossible not to pick up on, and this seems to be exactly what Harris is going for. Like those acts, Harris is as good at writing catchy hooks and choruses as he is at layering intricate musical textures to create the perfect balance of angst, psychedelia and sunshine. It’s not uncommon for this musician to use a variety of instruments throughout the album.
These elements also place Brett Harris on a similar wavelength – albeit less trippy – to contemporary acts like Tame Impala, Spoon and, in the case of his new song “Lies”, Dr. Dog. We are excited to offer an exclusive premiere of “Lies” right here on Glide Magazine.
“Lies” is unquestionably one of the standout tracks on Up In The Air in the way it is a more personal song for Harris, and also in the way he manages to create a song that brings to mind a distinctive collection of influences. It’s as if Dr. Dog’s Be The Void album meets Bob Dylan’s “Man In Me” with a touch of Dixieland Jazz, and of course a few more sounds from left field.
Offering his own thoughts on “Lies”, Brett Harris describes it as “One of the more autobiographical songs on this album, up to a certain point. Not so much about a relationship as it is about trying to find one’s way amidst a sea of popular opinion(s). The second verse images and phrases come directly from growing up in the Bible Belt. I witnessed a lot of motivation by fear and judgment. As an adult, I’m still a believer, but I am way more into the idea of grace.
The bridge of this song takes a stark departure from everything else going on in the tune and is meant to conjure feelings of a woozy and somewhat disconnected moment of clarity before the protagonist makes up his or her mind to move on in search of what is true. I wanted to create a moment like what is found in the bridge of ‘Chest Fever’ by The Band or ‘Heroes and Villains’ by the Beach Boys. The final verse contains a vague reference to Hazel Motes, a character from Flannery O’Connor’s ‘Wise Blood’. O’Connor is my favorite author and perfectly captures the conflict and complexity of Southern life.”
Give a listen to our exclusive premiere of “Lies”:
Up In The Air comes out on March 4th. For more info on Brett Harris check out brettharrismusic.com.