With thanks to HarperPR!
Word document version attached as well if you like that sort of thing. Updated 6 September 2007
Despite being destined to be forever known as the son of the legendary folk/blues singer-songwriter Roy Harper, Nick Harper has forged his own way ahead to become recognised as one of Britain’s finest acoustic singer/guitarists. Having played the guitar from the age of 10 (he is completely self-taught) and surrounded by the likes of Keith Moon, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and Dave Gilmour as he grew up, it was no surprise when Nick made his recording debut on his father's Whatever Happened to Jugula? in 1985.
Nick's talent and energy entranced
A meeting with Squeeze frontman and songwriter Glenn Tilbrook in 1996 led to his offering Nick a job playing with and supporting Squeeze and promptly signed Nick to his own label, Quixotic Records. Following tours in the
To call him a superlative singer/songwriter could put his highly lauded guitar talent in the shade, and to call him a guitarist’s guitarist might slight his distinctive, soulful voice and passionate songs. Not forgetting the wild ride that is one of his live shows – from personal introspection to biting political satire via a charmingly caustic wit that would make Groucho Marx proud. To see Nick Harper live (with a style that combines a multitude of musical influences from folk to rock, classical to flamenco) is an unforgettable experience, where no two gigs are the same. His own material is frequently accompanied by segued offerings from Jeff Buckley, Blur, Led Zeppelin, Prodigy; a little Zappa here, a touch of Monty Python there (and even a few bars of Kylie) are liable to be thrown into the mix of a two-hour set - that’s when he’s not walking across glass-littered bartops or never dropping so much as a single note as he re-strings his guitar, mid-song.
This is all part and parcel of what an audience now comes to expect from this inveterate showman.
“There are some gigs I’ve done where I know something special has happened,” he reveals. “That I have got to the heart of the song and brought it out with the same feeling as when I wrote it. Those occasions when the conscious person leaves and you are left with just the song, well, that’s special.”
With 6 studio albums, a double live CD and 2 EPs (including Instrumental, a stunning display of his guitar talents) under his belt, Nick’s work is as fresh and as vital as that of his first solo release in 1994.
His 2006 album Treasure Island attests to his ability to craft songs that take in, absorb and spit out coruscating political scorn (as on the tracks Knuckledraggers and Sleeper Cell), social history comment (the title track being inspired by an obscure Liverpudlian philanthropist who employed men returning from the Napoleonic Wars to dig tunnels), the seven ages of man (in the infectious melody of By My Rocket Comes Fire), pride in his country (A Wiltshire Tale is an epic poem to his beloved home county), and turn them into catchy, robust tunes that grab the ear and remain in the memory long after the last track has ended.
“I never set out to write songs about something. All I can ever do is write from the heart. I try to write songs that mean something to people,” he says.
During 2006 he played a series of festivals around the country, including acclaimed sets at the Moseley Folk Festival (Birmingham), JerseyLive (Channel Islands) and Beautiful Days (Devon), culminating with an autumn tour which took in an appearance at Wirral’s 18th International Guitar Festival of Great Britain where he (received a standing ovation), and playing live in session on Janice Long’s Radio 2 show, prompting her to describe him as “absolutely astonishing”.
This year, 2007, has proved to be his most creative and successful to date. Alongside live sessions for BBC Radio Wales,
His sixth studio album, Miracles For Beginners, was released in June. A ten-track album of love songs, witty parodies and social and political comment, including Field of the Cloth of Gold (referring to a meeting of the kings of France and Spain, 500 years ago, with a parallel reference to today’s music festivals), Evo Morales (inspired by the Bolivian president), the quirky Simple, and Blue Sky Thinking, a heartfelt ballad on a theme of ‘looking outside the box’.
Early reviews for Miracles For Beginners:
Mojo: “Miracles For Beginners, his most focused, warm and triumphant album to date” (4 stars)
BBC Online: Miracles For Beginners is trademark Nick – perfectly constructed folk tunes with impassioned, and often witty, lyricism.”
Scottish Herald: “Shameless love songs, a heartfelt tribute to the Bolivian president and a kind of medieval talking blues are all borne on masterful acoustic guitar patterns…ten minor miracles.” (4 stars)
Twisted Ear: “This album is simply superb…an essential acquisition.” (5 stars)
The Sun: “Like his dad, he’s a fine folk troubadour and a great guitarist…this is a witty, vibrant affair…a rewarding listen.” (3.5 stars)
Rock ‘n’ Reel: “…his latest album, Miracles For Beginners, really does shine out as the greatest achievement in a long and often remarkable career.”
In early 2007, a call from Mike Peters of Welsh band The Alarm, led to his ongoing involvement with the LoveHopeStrength Foundation, a cancer charity set up by Peters to provide a global support network for cancer survivors.
Nick returns to the
Listen to tracks from Miracles For Beginners and previous albums at:
Image downloads available at:
Contact: Linn Branson Harper PR
020 8349 9742 / 07956 892359
HarperPR [at] hotmail [dot] co [dot] uk
IN OTHERS’ WORDS…
"Frank Zappa would have been impressed… he deserves to become a major figure in his own right." - Robin Denselow, The Guardian, 14 June 2000
“Harper has so much musicianship in him that it just leaks out all over the place.” - Robert Dawson Scott, The Times, 13 April 2002
"Album of the Month: Son of '70s poet/singer Roy Harper, dubbed 'the acoustic Hendrix' and the 'English Jeff Buckley', Nick Harper's fourth studio album [Blood Songs] rises above this (albeit favourable) baggage… With this amount of melodic and sonic ingenuity, Nick Harper could be dubbed 'the new Beck' - but that would be a bigger compliment to Mr. Hansen than it would be to Harper." - Guitar (
“Nick Harper is the best-kept secret in the music industry…
“Dylan for the iPod generation…Betjeman with a guitar.” – Julian Piper, Guitarist, March 2006
“You must really go and see this man live and then you will fully appreciate the intense virtuosity of his guitar-playing, his soulful singing, the intimate brilliance of his song-writing and the bloody funny way he puts it all across.” - Leigh Marles, Lifestyle, April 2006
“He is magnificent…absolutely astonishing!” - Janice Long, Radio 2, October 2006
“…the first time I’ve heard of thrash acoustic!” – Mike Read, DJ, Love Is Music DVD, 2007
“Shameless love songs, a heartfelt tribute to the Bolivian president and a kind of medieval talking blues are all borne on masterful acoustic guitar patterns…ten minor miracles.” – Rob Adams, Scottish Herald, July 2007
“Like his dad, he’s a fine folk troubadour and a great guitarist. This [Miracles For Beginners] is a witty, vibrant affair…and a rewarding listen.” – The Sun, August 2007
“One of the finest guitarists of his generation…Miracles For Beginners, his most focused, warm and triumphant album to date.” – Phil Alexander, Mojo, August 2007
“…his latest album, Miracles For Beginners, really does shine out as the greatest achievement in a long and often remarkable career.” – Dan Coxon, Rock ‘n’ Reel, September/October 2007
BACK FROM THE NAUGHTY STEP TOUR
Nov 8 BARTON – U-HUMBER The Carnival
9 SPILSBY Spilsby Theatre
16 OSWESTRY The Ironworks
20 SWINDON The
1994 EP Light At The End Of The Kennel Sangraal
1995 CD Seed Sangraal
1998 CD Smithereens Quixotic
1999 EP Instrumental Sangraal
2000 CD Harperspace Quixotic
2002 CD Double Life Quixotic
2004 CD Blood Songs Sangraal
2007 CD Miracles For Beginners Sangraal
2007 DVD Love Is Music
2005 co-wrote and features on Not In My Name, B-side to Make You Happy
(single) by The Levellers
2006 WarChild Music – Mojo (live) EP recorded at the Barfly,